Honor Blackman, best known as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, has died aged 94.
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.”
Blackman shot to fame as crimefighter Cathy Gale in the hit spy show The Avengers, alongside Patrick Macnee as John Steed. She played the role from 1962-1964.
In 1964 aged 39, she left Avengers to became one of the oldest “Bond girls”, playing Pussy Galore opposite Sean Connery in the third James Bond film.
She later expressed regret at leaving the hit TV series for the 007 film saying: “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.”
“I never considered myself a sex symbol,” she told Saga in 2015. “I hate watching myself. I’ve only seen Goldfinger twice: once at the premiere and once at the 50th anniversary. I’ve turned down parts in the past because they required a sexy woman and I didn’t think that was me. I always wanted to play the secretary. I know, it’s extraordinary, but it’s the truth.”
She appeared in a number of films including Jason and the Argonauts, Life at the Top, The Virgin and the Gypsy, Shalako, and Something Big.
Blackman also enjoyed a successful TV career with roles in Columbo, Minder, Midsomer Murders, Coronation Street, Casualty and Doctor Who. She had a leading role in the hit ITV sitcom The Upper Hand alongside Joe McGann and Diana Weston which ran for six series from 1990-1996.
Her last acting role was in 2015. She guest starred in UKTV Gold’s You, Me & Them, playing the mischievous mother of actor Anthony Head.
Blackman married twice: to Bill Sankey from 1948-56, and to British actor Maurice Kaufmann from 1961–75, with whom she adopted two children. She never remarried, saying she preferred to stay single.
“People can’t understand it,” she said. “Basically I’m a shy person and I like my own company. I couldn’t bear to be with someone now. I do exactly what I want to do, when I want to do it. I’ve always been like that… you’re only hindered by husbands!”
Hot Fuzz director Edgar Wright was among those paying tribute to Blackman calling her the “ultimate Bond girl”.
RIP, ultimate Bond Girl and original Avenger, Honor Blackman. pic.twitter.com/D1IXN0KLIw
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) April 6, 2020
Piers Morgan proclaimed her as his “favourite of all the Bond girls”.
RIP Honor Blackman, 94.
A wonderful actress, and my favourite of all the Bond girls when she played Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. She died of natural causes. Her family said she was ‘an extraordinary combination of beauty, brains and physical prowess’.
Yes she was. What a life. pic.twitter.com/odS791EqfX
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 6, 2020
While Bond super-fan David Walliams said she will “live forever” in the 1964 film.
— David Walliams (@davidwalliams) April 6, 2020
Honor Blackman 1925-2020.