In the late Sixties and early Seventies, British cinema-goers, and British men in general, had a weakness for Scandinavian women. For a time, the Norwegian actress and model Julie Ege was as ubiquitous as Sweden's Britt Ekland.
In 1969, Ege's stunning looks caught the eye of the film producer Albert Broccoli, who cast her in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the only James Bond film to feature George Lazenby as the lead. In 1971, Ege was Voluptua to Frankie Howerd's Lurcio in the first Up Pompeii film, based on the titter-heavy sitcom of the same name. Having starred in Creatures the World Forgot, another Hammer "cave girl" film in the vein of the Raquel Welch vehicle One Million Years BC, Ege was touted as the "Sex Symbol of the 1970s" by Sir James Carreras, head of Hammer Film Productions, and his son Michael.
Despite further appearances in sci-fi and horror hokum like The Final Programme (1973), Craze, Dr of Evil (aka The Mutations) and The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (all in 1974), she was typecast as a glamour girl, in comedies such as The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins (1971) and Not Now Darling (1973), both with Leslie Phillips, as well as Percy's Progress (1974) and The Amorous Milkman (1975).
Over the last decade, Ege was amazed by the renewed interest in her films. "There I was on the front cover of so many newspapers as the forgotten diva of British horror and comedy films," she said in 2004, two years after publishing her autobiography, Naken ("Naked"), in Norway. In 1999, she visited Britain and took part in a reunion of Hammer alumni. In 2005, she featured in the BBC documentary Crumpet! A Very British Sex Symbol, presented by the former Daily Sport editor Tony Livesey. "To be honest, I was never really that proud of my performance in films," she said, "but I gave it my best and enjoyed the work very much."
Julie Ege, model, actress and nurse: born Sandnes, Norway 13 November 1943; twice married (two daughters); died Oslo 29 April 2008.