They met during the filming of Clash of the Titans in 1979 (he played Perseus, she Aphrodite), and neither heaven, earth nor convention could keep Harry Hamlin or Ursula Andress on an ordinary mortal’s path. Though she was 43 at the time and he only 28, they quickly became inseparable and on May 19, 1980 Ursula found herself for the first time a mother. With young Dimitri, now 3, all that was missing in the Hamlin household was a marriage license, and that seemed easily remedied. Andress hinted only three months ago that the time was approaching “to do the legal thing for Dimitri’s sake.”
But it looks as if Andress and Hamlin are more likely to be saying, “We’re through” rather than “I do.” The Swiss-born actress reports that though she is still wild about Harry, he no longer shares their small, one-bedroom cottage in Hollywood’s Laurel Canyon. “I want to be with him,” says the distraught Ursula, “but he wants to go out.” Hamlin has been seen in recent months with other women but with no one in particular.
In some measure, Ursula blames herself for the split. “I was always very possessive,” she says, “and for Harry, his career is the main thing.” The relationship apparently was not the emotional experience Andress was seeking. “Coldness and silence from people are terrifying to me. I can’t understand it. Cruelty I can understand because that comes from passion. But indifference?” she asks cryptically.
From the outset, Andress and Hamlin appeared to have different goals. Ursula, who was quickly dubbed “Ursula Undress” after her breathless emergence in the James Bond films Dr. No (1962) and Casino Royale (1967), was coolly indifferent to being one of the world’s greatest sex symbols. An eight-year marriage to director John Derek and a subsequent seven-year affair with French actor Jean Paul Belmondo (he dumped his wife and three kids for Andress) left her disillusioned. Ryan O’Neal, Marcello Mastroianni, John De Lorean and the other men in her life did not fill the basic gap: home and family. Hamlin did, at least in the beginning. Andress moved to California from her apartment in Rome when she was eight months pregnant, and their Hollywood housekeeping seemed secure enough by local standards. But while Andress was more content to recall past glories on film, Hamlin seemed intent on expanding his own career. Though his work in pictures such as Movie Movie, Making Love and the 1979 miniseries Studs Lonigan won him generally good notices, Hamlin now appears more interested in stage work. (In March 1982 he starred in Hamlet at Princeton’s McCarter Theater.)
While Harry pursues his career and his independence (“We do speak,” says Ursula), Andress will have to put aside for the moment her dreams of “a perfect family.” A reconciliation is unlikely and Ursula is even considering leaving America and settling with Dimitri in Europe. For the moment she is busy writing a book on child raising and will appear in an NBC pilot, Manimal, next fall.
Whatever her future, Andress is confident it won’t be alone. “Love affairs and husbands can end, but a child is forever. Dimitri is my love now,” she says of the only man—temporarily—in her life.