1. CBn Visits With Lana Wood

    By Charles Helfenstein on 2005-05-15

    It was a “plenty” good time in Gaithersburg, Maryland as the CBn east coast crew visited with Diamonds Are Forever actress Lana Wood. Charles HalfensteinLana enthralled us with tales from the set of Diamonds are Forever, her stints as a guest star on various TV shows, and life with her famous sister.

    After getting autographs and pictures taken, she became a fountain of information, anecdotes, and laughs. She said that she had been delighted to work with Sean Connery (James Bond), since they had been friends years before the film was made. She recalled dinners at the Connery house with Sean and his first wife Diane Cliento.

    She also knew scriptwriter Tom Mankiewicz well, and so right away she felt among friends. After trying out for the Tiffany Case role and not being cast, she was on her way back to LA when they called to see if she would be interested in playing a lesser part, and she was happy to say Yes.

    Dlibrasnow, Doctor Shatterhand, Lana Wood & Charles Helfenstein

    Dlibrasnow, Doctor Shatterhand, Lana Wood & Charles Helfenstein

    Doctor Shatterhand recounted the story of Cubby Broccoli bodyguarding Jane Russel during the filming of the Outlaw, and asked if that ever came up – since Lana’s obvious assets and hair style were similar. Lana said that it did not.

    I asked what sort of contact she had with Harry Saltzman during the filming, and she said absolutely none. The one time she saw Harry in the studio cafeteria, she asked Mankiewicz to introduce her. Mankiewicz refused. He explained that if they went over and she said “Nice to meet you Mr Saltzman“, Harry would ask “Why did you call me Mr. Saltzman?” And if she said “Nice to meet you Harry“, he would ask “Why did you call me Harry?” So she decided to play it safe and avoid Saltzman’s gruff reputation.

    Since a member of Natalie’s family has Hodgkins Lymphoma, Doctor Shatterhand produced two Diamonds are Forever collectables for her to sign so he could auction them and donate the proceeds to help with medical expenses. She gladly signed “I’ve got friends in this town” (at the suggestion of Dlibrasnow) in the paperback book, and “You handle that like a monkey handles coconuts” on the soundtrack CD. Look for news of the auctions soon.

    Lana Wood

    Lana’s message to CBn on one of the never released photos.

    Next she had a quiz for us Bond experts. “What is wrong with this photo?” she asked. I had never seen the shot, of her reclining in a nightgown. We gave up after a few guesses. She then explained that she had been asked to take some publicity photographs for Diamonds are Forever, and after the session, the photographs were ready to go out, Cubby Broccoli noticed a problem. Lana was wearing Tiffany Case’s nightgown. Wardrobe had put her in the other character’s clothes. And so the photos never got released.

    Speaking of lingerie, I asked her if she knew why the network had darkened the color of her underwear and digitally added in a bra when Diamonds are Forever was shown on ABC. She said she had no clue why they did, although she did get calls from the media when it happened. “What do I care?” she told them. “Ask me about something important like the war in Iraq, not about changing the color of my panties.

    Diamonds are Forever -by Jeff Marshall

    Diamonds are Forever -by Jeff Marshall

    During our discussion, Lana got a phone call on her cell phone (her ring tone isn’t the Bond theme though), and after that the talk turned to her family. She lives with her daughter, son-in-law, and 3 grandchildren, and a whopping 13 animals. She is very involved with her grandkids, and I noted that she is raising a 2nd generation of children. She agreed and said it makes her very happy.

    After a video interview with Doctor Shatterhand, Lana told us about her next shows. Australia, Japan, California, Memphis, and Chicago are all planned (watch CBn for later details). I encourage fans in those areas to make the effort to see her, because she is such a delight to talk to.

    As we said our goodbyes (had it really been 2 hours?), Lana told us to check out her new website, which is currently being constructed: