Diana Ross for Solitaire

Writer Tom Mankiewicz wanted Diana Ross for the role of Solitaire in Live and Let Die. He thought it was time for a black woman in a leading role in a James Bond film and he lobbied hard for her inclusion. However, the studio declined his suggestion and went with the way the character was written in the book: a white fortune teller.

“One of the things that I wanted very much was for Solitaire to be played by a black woman. When it came time to do it (film LALD), UA was quite frightened of it for legitimate reasons from their point of view: the picture was going to be very expensive and they wondered, outside of cities like New York and London, how well that would go over with a new Bond. They`d had the experience of Her Majesty`s Secret Service. They were real careful.” [Mankiewicz is quoted in Tom Soter`s 1993 tome Bond and Beyond]

Tom Mankiewicz and Guy Hamilton both felt that having a black female lead in the role of Solitaire would “alleviate” the problems the movie would face in having all black villains. A compromise was worked out, where Bond would sleep with a black woman (Rosie Carver-played by Gloria Hendry) but Solitaire would be kept white!

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