Tiffany Case – An Enigmatic Diamond Smuggler and Bond Girl
Tiffany Case is a captivating and enigmatic character in the James Bond series, who made her debut in Ian Fleming’s 1956 novel Diamonds Are Forever and then later portrayed by Jill St. John in the 1971 film adaptation.
The novel and film versions of Tiffany Case share some similarities, primarily her role as a diamond smuggler. However, her personality traits and background differ significantly between the two adaptations, with the novel providing a more in-depth exploration of her character.
Tiffany Case Literary Version
In the novel, Tiffany Case is a diamond smuggler working for The Spangled Mob, a ruthless American gang involved in smuggling diamonds from Africa through a global pipeline. Receiving orders from a mysterious voice over the phone known as “A B C”, Tiffany monitors couriers as they transport diamonds from Europe to the United States.
Additionally, she works as a blackjack dealer at the Tiara, a Las Vegas hotel and casino, which functions as the mob’s American base of operations.
Bond takes on the guise of a small-time criminal to connect with Tiffany in London, utilizing her professional role as a gateway into the smuggling pipeline while also developing a personal interest in her.
Felix Leiter, familiar with Tiffany’s past, informs Bond of Tiffany’s teenage gang-rape ordeal and her resulting hatred of men she harbours. Despite this, Tiffany finds herself attracted to Bond, and they eventually become lovers.
Tiffany ultimately betrays her former associates, aiding Bond in escaping their grasp. She is later abducted by Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd on the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner but is later rescued by Bond.
Following their adventure, Tiffany and Bond live together in London and see out the novel, but as is typical, she doesn’t return in the next novel. Instead, she had found life with Bond too challenging and returned to the United States.
Tiffany Case in the Film
Portrayed by the talented American actress Jill St. John, Tiffany is an American diamond smuggler with a wise-cracking, somewhat ditzy, and slightly naïve personality. Her money-grubbing nature sets her apart from her literary counterpart, adding a bit more intrigue to the character.
We first see Tiffany in Amsterdam, where James Bond, in the guide of Peter Franks, seeks her out to investigate her role in a diamond-smuggling operation led by his arch-nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and his nefarious organization, SPECTRE.
Initially partnering with Bond for the promise of millions, Tiffany finds herself entangled in a dangerous web of deception when the real Peter Franks arrives at her door. Bond kills Franks, and Tiffany then accompanies Bond to the United States to continue their investigation.
As the story unfolds, Tiffany’s loyalties waver. After betraying Bond and handing over the diamonds to another SPECTRE smuggler, she has a change of heart when she discovers the body of Plenty O’Toole, who was mistakenly killed in her place by Blofeld’s henchmen Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd.
Determined to help Bond, Tiffany follows the trail of smuggled diamonds until they finally confront Blofeld on an oil rig. As dizzy as she is, Tiffany proves herself as a valuable ally to Bond, helping him defeat Blofeld and dismantle his criminal enterprise.
After the mission is complete, she embarks on a romantic cruise with Bond, but their idyllic getaway is interrupted by an assassination attempt from Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd. However, Bond thwarts their efforts and sees them both off overboard, and the couple sails off into the night, marking the conclusion of Tiffany Case’s thrilling and transformative journey from diamond smuggler to Bond girl.
Jill St. John
Jill St. John is an American actress known for her extensive career in the entertainment industry, starting from a young age with radio and TV appearances. Her breakthrough role came in the film Come Blow Your Horn (1963), and she is best known for portraying the first American Bond girl, Tiffany Case, in Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
She also made a memorable appearance in the TV series Batman (1966) as the Riddler’s moll, Molly, becoming the first person to die in an episode of the series. Throughout her career, St. John has appeared in numerous popular television shows, such as The Love Boat, Magnum, P.I., and Fantasy Island.
In addition to her acting career, she pursued her passion for cooking, becoming a culinary personality and authoring The Jill St. John Cookbook (1987). Married four times, she has been with her current husband, Robert Wagner, since 1990, and the couple has appeared in several films together.