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Honor Blackman, James Bond's Pussy Galore, dies aged 94

Honor Blackman, James Bond's Pussy Galore, dies aged 94

4/6/2020 6:31:00 PM

Honor Blackman, James Bond 's Pussy Galore, dies aged 94

Actor also known for role in Avengers praised as ‘hugely prolific creative talent’ by family

The actor, who became a household name in the 1960s as Cathy Gale in The Avengers and enjoyed a career spanning eight decades, died of natural causes unrelated to coronavirus.Blackman’s family called her an “adored mother and grandmother” who possessed “an extraordinary combination of beauty, brains and physical prowess”.

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In a statement to the Guardian, her family said: “It’s with great sadness that we have to announce the death of Honor Blackman aged 94. She died peacefully of natural causes at her home in Lewes, Sussex, surrounded by her family. She was much loved and will be greatly missed by her two children Barnaby and Lottie, and grandchildren Daisy, Oscar, Olive and Toby.

“As well as being a much-adored mother and grandmother, Honor was an actor of hugely prolific creative talent; with an extraordinary combination of beauty, brains and physical prowess, along with her unique voice and a dedicated work ethic, she achieved an unparalleled iconic status in the world of film and entertainment and with absolute commitment to her craft and total professionalism in all her endeavours she contributed to some of the great films and theatre productions of our times.”

As well as her parts as Cathy Gale in The Avengers and Bond girl Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, her family highlighted Blackman’s roles as the vengeful goddess Hera in Jason and the Argonauts and as Laura West in the 1990s sitcom The Upper Hand. She appeared in theatrical productions including The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and Cabaret.

In recent years, she had toured and performed in her show Honor Blackman as herself, in which her family said she looked back over “her astonishing life, her beginnings, her family, and her rise to stardom with her usual sense of humour and perspective”.

Blackman was a voracious consumer of current affairs, they added, saying: “Honor was an avid reader of news and politics and she particularly loved the Guardian newspaper, along with all forms of insightful unbiased reporting and intellectually enlightened broadcasting.”

Born in east London to a middle-class family – her father was a civil servant – Blackman credited the elocution lessons she received as a birthday gift as allowing her to progress in her acting career. After studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, she secured small roles in films and TV shows such as Titanic drama A Night to Remember (1958) and the Edgar Wallace vigilante series The Four Just Men (1959-60).

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She secured her breakthrough when she was cast in 1962 as leather-clad crimefighter Cathy Gale in the hit British show The Avengers, alongside Patrick Macnee as the bowler-hatted John Steed. Blackman had to learn judo for the role, and her tough persona allied to then daring costume choices – boots and figure-hugging catsuits – ensured she quickly assumed star status. One of its unlikely results was a hit single, Kinky Boots, recorded in 1964 with Macnee, which became a top 10 hit in 1990.

Blackman’s profinciency in martial arts helped her land what became her signature role, that of Pussy Galore, the glamorous villain assisting in Goldfinger’s plot to rob Fort Knox. Released in 1964, Goldfinger was the third Bond film and was a major global hit. However, Blackman later told the Guardian she regretted leaving The Avengers to play the part. “I walked away at the wrong moment. They were just going from black and white to colour, they were starting to get real film money.”

In the wake of her rise to mainstream fame, Blackman made noticeable appearances in such films as Jason and the Argonauts (1963), Shalako (1968) and The Virgin and the Gypsy (1970), but while she worked steadily in film, her TV work was higher profile, and included guest appearances in Columbo, Minder and Doctor Who. In 1990, she was cast in a regular role in the ITV sitcom The Upper Hand, playing the glamorous mother of the lead female character. Blackman expressed her fondness for the role, saying it “made women who’d just retired and felt they’d been put on the backburner realise they had a lot of life left to live”.

Blackman was also a committed activist, campaigning for the Liberal party and later becoming a member of the Liberal Democrats. She was also a staunch republican, and turned down a CBE in 2002 to avoid being a “hypocrite”. More recently, she joined a campaign to demand compensation payments for pensioners who lost savings in the Equitable Life scandal.

Blackman was married and divorced twice, to Bill Sankey and Maurice Kaufmann. She adopted two children with Kaufmann, Lottie and Barnaby. Read more: The Guardian »

RIP PG..... JAMES BOND: A Beginner’s Guide She was graceful, elegant, humorous, intelligent and simply stunning. Has there ever been a more beautiful 94-year old? SML531974 She’s beautiful… She looks like my mom🙁 John Steed’s first partner 😭 Bless her, amazing woman and so funny. RIP x RIP 🙏 Back in the 60s I had her book on self defense and tried (with very limited success!) to develop some skills.

Simon_Pegg She’ll always be her from The Upper Hand to me.. She was pure class. I saw her at the Halle in Manchester as part of the Bond series. What a beautiful woman she was. Oh no! Rip Honor 😕🙁 Rest easy jdog_wilkins To be Pussy Galore, Honor Blackman's audition must've been a bond of wet, wild, wonderful 💧💧 HonorBlackman

mik61scot She was beautiful! ₩ Part of my heart has gone forever the talented , intelligent and beautiful Honor Blackman RIP Oh there’s sad but yes what a long life. She walked across my path around Marylebone a long time ago. Quite petite and very glamorous. RIP Just realized that she was 39 when in Goldfinger 👏

She’ll always be Laura in The Upper Hand for me. A big part of my childhood. 💜 R.I.P. Honor She was a avenger Rest In Peace 💔 Great actress - especially pioneer in The Avengers with her judo and manhandling! Also liberal and campaigner in later life RIP Wow! I'm very sad. I was in love with her at the time of the movie.

She had a glorious voice She was a great actress..much loved by everyone in my younger days? RIP 😔 PattyArquette Wow! First date I had w my first love was to see that movie in 1964. One of THE best Bond girls. Beautiful and a Legend. RIP I remember her more for her role in The Upper Hand series on ITV Oh how sad. A beautiful woman, great voice and presence, and unforgettable in that Bond part.

the_60s_at_60 This is a metaphor for the times. Class act. rip MrsBlinkle Screen Legend. Best Bond Girl ever. RIP. A Screen Legend. RIP Honor Blackman. R. I. P. Thank you .❤️ 'You like close shaves dont you' SteveDore1982 - you know what’s coming here..... An amazing actress and one of the first action girl characters. RIP Honor - thanks for the great memories

😥 OCDTrudy 😢 PattyArquette 🙏🏼😘 RIP beautiful woman. Best Bond girl there was. Honor Blackman died. My morning wood is at half-mast. My first ever crush. A standard bearer for girl power long before it became fashionable JamesBond goldfinger Who could forget that memorable scene where she refuses James Bond's sexual advances so he physically fights her into submission & finally rapes her..... while the score swells in a sweeping movement of violins.

Very sad news 🙏🏾😢 Heartbroken. What a gorgeous woman she was. RIP RIP, i found a film gem last year. worth the time! Green Grow the Rushes (1951) Sad news. Surely from coronavirus no? How have you guys missed an opportunity to scare people even more Come on, don’t slip now you were doing so well 94.....she led a great life.

“Honor was an avid reader of news and politics and she particularly loved the Guardian newspaper, along with all forms of insightful unbiased reporting and intellectually enlightened broadcasting.” Kept a sense of humour too.

Pussy Galore actor Honor Blackman diesActor was best known for her roles as Bond girl Pussy Galore and as Cathy Gale in The Avengers R.I.P. RIP 🙏 You mean, celebrated actress Honor Blackman, perhaps best known for her role as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, has sadly passed away?

Pussy Galore actor Honor Blackman diesActor was best known for her roles as Bond girl Pussy Galore and as Cathy Gale in The Avengers R.I.P. RIP 🙏 You mean, celebrated actress Honor Blackman, perhaps best known for her role as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, has sadly passed away?

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