Nadja Regin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Nadja Regin
Nadežda Poderegin

(1931-12-02)2 December 1931
Niš, Yugoslavia
(now Niš, Serbia)
Died6 April 2019(2019-04-06) (aged 87)[1]
OccupationActress, writer, publisher
Years active1949–1968
Spouse(s)Michael Szrajber (b. 1922, d. 2009)
ChildrenTanya Szrajber (b. 1960)

Nadežda "Nađa" Poderegin (2 December 1931 – 6 April 2019),[2][3][4] commonly known by her stage name Nadja Regin (Serbian Cyrillic: Нађа Регин, Nađa Regin), was a Serbian actress. Performing in Yugoslav films from 1949, she developed an international career in the 1950s, appearing in the 1960s in such British television series like Danger Man, Maigret, The Benny Hill Show and The Saint.

She was one of the few actresses to have appeared in two James Bond movies: as the mistress of Kerim Bey in From Russia with Love and a smaller appearance in the pre-credit sequence of Goldfinger.

Early life[edit]

Regin was born as Nadežda Poderegin (Serbian Cyrillic: Надежда Подерегин) on 2 December 1931 in Niš, Serbia, Kingdom of Yugoslavia. She was born to Milka Bajić Poderegin (1904-1971), a professor, and Ignjatije Poderegin, Russian white émigré, a professor and agricultural scientist. She also had a younger sister Jelena Poderegin, nicknamed Ljolja.[5] Her mother was born in Pljevlja, Ottoman Empire (today in Montenegro), while her father was an ethnic Russian born in Kiev, Russian Empire (today in Ukraine).[6]

She grew up in Kraljevo where her father worked as a professor at the High School for Agriculture. He was executed by the German occupation forces during World War II during the Kraljevo massacre in October 1941. Though several people intervened for him to be released, he refused to abandon his colleagues and students which were to be shot by the Germans, so they shot him, too. Her mother Milka was a vocal opponent to the German occupation and was blacklisted by the Germans.[5][6][7]

After the Soviet Red Army arrived in Yugoslavia and participated with the Yugoslav Partisans in forcing out the Germans, a 13-years old Regin shortly acted as an interpreter in the Kraljevo hospital, as she learned Russian from her father. Soon after the liberation, Poderegin family moved to Belgrade where her mother found a new employment.[6]


She began to act as a child, participating in some children adaptations, at the age of 7.[8] In Belgrade, Regin attended the 7th Girls Gymnasium, while both sisters went to the ballet school.[7]

Regin originally planned to study journalism,[6] but entered the Academy for Theatrical Arts in Belgrade in 1950. She was mentored by Joža Rutić [sr] and Branko Pleša, while among her classmates were Jelena Žigon, Dragan Laković [sr], Dejan Čavić [sr], Branislav Jerinić, Petar Banićević and Pavle Minčić [sr]. She graduated 20 May 1954 in the role of Anka, from the play Lovers by the unknown 16th century author, performing in the Belgrade Drama Theatre.[5][7]

In this period, she was known as "the most beautiful girl in Belgrade". She also has a diploma in literature from the University of Belgrade's Faculty of Philosophy.[5][7]

Acting career[edit]


Regin's acting career began during her student years. She was noticed by film director Vladimir Pogačić who gave Regin her first role in his 1949 film The Factory Story, which basically acted as her post-graduate studies. In 1950, Vojislav Nanović directed her in his pastoral folk tale The Magic Sword. She again worked with Nanović in 1952 in Frosina.[5]

In 1955, she starred in Ešalon Dr. M, a hugely successful movie directed by Žika Mitrović. A feature dealing with the World War II was Regin's last work in her home country.[5]

International career[edit]

She originally expanded her career through several Yugoslav-German co-productions. From the 1954 production of The House on the Coast, directed by Boško Kosanović, she shortened her surname from Poderegin to Regin. It was a story of love triangle, also starring Bert Sotlar and Sybille Schmitz. She and Schmitz played a daughter and a mother who are both in loved with the same man. The film was screened at the Berlin Film Festival where she was treated as a star due to the film's popularity, and this kick started her international career.[5][6]

On the success of The House on the Coast, she was offered a multi-film contract for the German and Austrian territories.[6] Other German-language films include Roman eines Frauenarztes (1954; by Falk Harnack), Du mein stilles Tal [de] (1955; by Leonard Steckel) and Goodbye, Franziska (1957; by Wolfgang Liebeneiner).

In 1964, she starred in the movie Runaway, a New Zealand production which also starred young Kiri Te Kanawa. It was Regin's final film appearance.[6]

UK career[edit]

Regin moved to London in the mid-1950s. She described the relocation as a "sort of a professional suicide" since she did not speak a word of English at the time.[6] Still, she soon acted in British projects like the series The Adventures of William Tell, which was her television debut, and The Invisible Man,and the feature film, Don't Panic Chaps!. The movie tells a story of British and German soldiers stranded on an island, who decide to peacefully co-exist because they can't leave. However, one day a girl, played by Regin, arrives to the island and the soldiers resume fighting, this time because of her. Regin cited this movie as her personal favorite.[6]

She appeared in many British TV series in this period: International Detective, Danger Man (where she played a Christine Keeler-sque character), Maigret, Richard the Lionheart, The Benny Hill Show, Crane, The Saint and Comedy Playhouse.[5][6] She also rehearsed for the episode "Girl on the Trapeze", an early episode of the TV series The Avengers, but actress Mia Karam was cast for the eventual episode.[9] Her last appearance was in the 1968 episode of Dixon of Dock Green, after which she retired from acting.[5] As the main reason for quitting acting, Regin stated her wish to spend more time with her daughter. At first she rejected offers for working outside of the United Kingdom, and then scrapped the acting career altogether.[6]

She stated that, though she learned the language well, in time her Slavic accent was an obstacle for more diverse roles: "I was condemned to accept the roles of spies and foreign girls, and you hadn't much of those. In London I forever was just like that - a foreigner".[5][6]

Bond girl[edit]

Regin is among the few actresses who appeared in two James Bond movies. In From Russia with Love (1963) she played the mistress of Kerim Bey, played by Pedro Armendariz, while in Goldfinger (1964), she played a Mexican belly dancer Bonita, a smaller appearance in the pre-credit sequence. Regin herself stipulated that she suspects they called her to appear in Goldfinger as a compensation because she was meant to have more scenes in From Russia with Love.[6][10]

She spoke very fondly of Armendariz: "He was a real gentleman. And when we were filming scenes from the From Russia With Love, from the James Bond franchise, he [Armendariz] was severely ill, actually, he was dying. Director Terence Young was aware of what is happening to Armendariz so he decided to film all his scenes, including those with me, in only one day. Armendariz succumbed to the illness later that year, 1963". She also described Sean Connery as a great professional.[5]

Regin kept private about her franchise work and gave only few interviews.[6] Movie Memories magazine interviewed her in 2015 about her Bond roles. In 2018, though 87-years old, she participated in some of the happenings regarding the "Year of James Bond" in the United Kingdom, as part of the 55th anniversary of the first James Bond novel, Casino Royale.[5]

Of successor Bond Girls, she especially praised Bérénice Marlohe from Skyfall, and generally described it as a "very powerful film", despite being nostalgic to the older entries in the franchise.[6]

Literary career[edit]

In the 1970s, her work included reading and selecting film scripts for production by film companies including Rank Films and Hammer Films. In 1980, she and her sister Jelena formed Honeyglen Publishing Ltd, a small publishing company, specializing in philosophy and art history, belles-lettres, biography, and some fiction. She published her mother's only novel, The Dawning (Svitanje in Serbian), in 1978. Regin compiled the last quarter of her mother's book from her notes, as her mother died before finishing it. Regin also personally translated the book in English and published it in 1988. The book was later also translated in French.[5][6][11]

Nadja authored several works herself. Her novel, The Victims and the Fools, was published as an ebook under her full name Nadja Poderegin. She also wrote a children's story, The Puppet Planet, and in the years prior to her death, she worked on her memoirs, titled Recollections.[5]

Personal life[edit]

In Cannes, Regin met Michael Szrajber (1922–2009), a Polish-born British World War II parachute airman turned industrialist. Szrajber was a member of the 1st Independent Parachute Brigade and participated in the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944. The couple married and moved to the United Kingdom. They had one daughter, Tanya, born in 1960. After moving to London, Regin also took her mother and sister with her.[5][6]

She was fluent in five languages: Serbo-Croatian, Russian, English, French and German.[6] She learned English in only a few months after moving to London. She credited this in part to her extensive reading of Somerset Maugham's works.[6]

In 1999, she participated in the London demonstrations against the NATO bombing of Serbia.[5]

The media reported Regin's death on 8 April 2019.[4][12][13]



Year English title Original title Role Director
1949 The Factory Story Priča o fabrici Textile worker Vladimir Pogačić
1950 The Magic Sword Čudotvorni mač - Vojislav Nanović
1952 Frosina Frosina - Vojislav Nanović
1954 The House on the Coast Das Haus an der Küste Marina Boško Kosanović
1954 Gynecologist's Tale Roman eines Frauenarztes Nina Bertens Falk Harnack
1955 Echelon of Dr. M. Ešalon dr M. Hatidža Žika Mitrović
1955 My quiet valley Du mein stilles Tal [de] Rita Leonard Steckel
1955 Rooster on the front Der Frontgockel Claudette, the French girl Ferdinand Dörfler
1957 The Man Without a Body - Odette Vernet Charles Saunders and W. Lee Wilder
1957 The Country Wife Die Unschuld vom Lande Lollo Rudolf Schündler
1957 Goodbye, Franziska Franziska Helen Philipps Wolfgang Liebeneiner
1957 Everything will be fine Es wird alles wieder gut [de] Lucilla Coletti, the artist Géza von Bolváry
1959 Don't Panic Chaps! - Elsa George Pollock
1960 We Will Never Part Wir wollen niemals auseinandergehn Livia Harald Reinl
1961 You Must Be Blonde on Capri Blond muß man sein auf Capri Helga Wagner Wolfgang Schleif
1962 Number Six Edgar Wallace Mysteries Nadia Leiven Robert Tronson
1962 Solo for Sparrow Edgar Wallace Mysteries Mrs. Reynnolds Gordon Flemyng
1962 The Fur Collar - Marie Lejeune Lawrence Huntington
1963 Stranglehold - Lilli Lawrence Huntington
1963 From Russia with Love - Kerim's Girl Terence Young
1964 Goldfinger - Bonita Guy Hamilton
1964 Downfall Edgar Wallace Mysteries Suzanne Crossley John Llewellyn Moxey
1964 Runaway - Laura Kossovich John O'Shea


Year Title Role Notes
1958 The Adventures of William Tell Maddelena episode The Bride
1959 The Invisible Man Princess Taima episode Man in Power
1959 Rendezvous Mary Darwin episode Murder in Berkeley Square
1960 ITV Television Playhouse Estelle episode Once a Crook
1961 International Detective Nora Galloway episode The Anthony Case
1961 Danger Man Melina episode Find and Destroy
1961 Maigret Maria episode The Winning Ticket
1962 Parbottle Speaking Zuhra Main cast
1962 Brothers in Law Nina Zoffany episode Special Examiner
1962 Richard the Lionheart Shirin episode The Lord of Kerak
1962 Six More Faces of Jim - episode The Face of Wisdom
1963 The Benny Hill Show Russian Girl episode The Vanishing man
1963 Zero One Didi Druson episode The Creators
1963 Man of the World Maria episode In the Picture
1963 Crane Maria Cortez episode The Golden Attraction
1964 Secret Agent Ira episode The Professionals
1965 The Flying Swan Tanja Sykes episode Company Property
1965 Riviera Police Lisa episode The Lucky One Was the Snake
1965 The Third Man Aldrina episodes Members Only parts 1 & 2
1966 The Liars Madame Moraldi episode 1.1
1966 Donaugeschichten [de] - episode W. M. und die Diplomatie
1966 The Man in Room 17 Roxana Polynescu episode The Catacombs
1967 The Saint Lucille Legrand episode The Art Collectors
1967 Armchair Theatre Ylena Davos episode Reason for Sale
1967 Death happens to other people Bettina TV movie
1967-1968 Comedy Playhouse Smyrna, the maid / Frederique Duval episodes The Old Campaigner and Stiff Upped Lip
1968 The World of Beachcomber - episodes 1.4 and 1.6
1968 Dixon of Dock Green Mrs. Green episode Ania


  1. ^ a b "Читуља – Нађа Подерегин, 1931–2019" [Obituary – Nađa Poderegin, 1931–2019]. Politika (in Serbian). 9 April 2019. p. 27.
  2. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Last Word, David Thouless, Nadja Poderegin, Ian Cognito, Dr Michael O'Donnell, Les Reed". BBC.
  3. ^ "Nadja Regin: Serbian actor who found fame alongside Sean Connery in From Russia With Love and Goldfinger". The Independent. 22 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Bond actress Nadja Regin dies aged 87". 8 April 2019. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Srebrenka Ilić (27 April 2019). "На берлинску премијеру с ношњом у коферу" [To the Berlin premiere with a folk costume in a suitcase]. Politika-Kulturni dodatak, year LXIII, No. 2 (in Serbian). p. 3.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Luke G. Williams. "Exclusive interview with Nadja Regin - The biggest strength you can have is love". James Bond 007 Magazine.
  7. ^ a b c d Ferid Mujezinović (15 September 2006). "Buntovnica s razlogom" [She-rebel with a cause]. Politika (in Serbian).
  8. ^ "Preminula lepotica iz Niša: Glumila u drugom nastavku Bonda i prešla po "trnju" do zvezda" [A beauty from Niš passed away: she acted in the second Bond sequel and walked through hardships to the stars] (in Serbian). B92. 8 April 2019.
  9. ^ "The Avengers Declassified: Keel and Steed".
  10. ^ V.M.P. (8 April 2019). "Odlazak Srpkinje koja je zavela Bonda" [Departure of the Serbian girl who seduced Bond] (in Serbian). Večernje Novosti.
  11. ^ The directors of Honeyglen Publishing are Jelena Poderegin-Harley and Nadja Poderegin-Szrajber; Honeyglen Publishing Limited; Companies in the UK
  12. ^ "Preminula Nađa Regin, Bondova glumica iz Srbije" [Nađa Regin passed away, Bond's girl from Serbia]. Politika (in Serbian). 8 April 2019.
  13. ^ James Bond on Twitter [@007] (8 April 2019). "In memory of Nadja Regin" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

External links[edit]