Ursula was born in the Swiss canton of Berne on March 19th, 1936, one of seven children in a German Protestant family. She started her movie career with small roles in Italian farces which invariably focused on her impressive physical attributes. Eventually, due in part to the patronage of paramour Marlon Brando, she signed a contract with Columbia Pictures and went to the US. She met rising star John Derek and married him in 1957, dropping out of movie-making for several years thereafter.
The year 1962 saw the relatively unknown Swiss beauty back on the set, co-starring with Sean Connery in the first movie version of Ian Fleming's fanciful "James Bond" espionage novels, "Dr. No". Andress' smoldering-yet-aloof screen presence immediately established her as one of the most desired women in the world, helped to start the James Bond franchise that continues to this day and set the "Bond Girl" standard beside which all future Bond actresses would be judged (notwithstanding the fact that her Swiss/German accent was so strong that her voice had to dubbed in the movie).
The success of "Dr. No" established her as a spectacular ornament to put on-screen alongside the most bankable talent of the 1960s, and she was cast in vehicles for such icons as Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. In 1965 she was one of several European starlets to co-star in What's New Pussycat (1965) - a film that perhaps sums up mid-'60s pop culture better than any other - written by Woody Allen, starring Allen and Peter Sellers, with music by Burt Bacharach, a title song performed by Tom Jones.
Andress made many more movies in the US and Europe from the mid-'60s to the mid-'70s, including La decima vittima (1965), in which she wears a famously ballistic bra; The Blue Max (1966), in which she is aptly cast as the sultry, sexually insatiable wife of an aristocratic World War I German general; and Casino Royale (1967), another foray into the world of James Bond.
Having been divorced by Derek in 1966, in 1979 she began what would be a long-term romance with Harry Hamlin, her handsome young co-star from Clash of the Titans (1981) (in which she was cast, predictably, as Aphrodite). While subsequently travelling in India, Andress discovered she was pregnant, her first and only, at the age of 43. She and Hamlin named the child, who was born in 1980, Dimitri Hamlin.
After the her son's birth, Andress scaled back her career, which now focused mostly on European TV and films, as she was raising Dimitri in Rome. She last worked on film in 1997. Her relationship with Hamlin having ended in 1982, she has lived with Lorenzo Rispoli since 1983.