Great Britain

Honor Blackman, who starred as iconic Bond girl Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, dies aged 94

ACTRESS Honor Blackman, who played iconic Bond girl Pussy Galore, has died aged 94.

The star of film, TV and theatre appeared with Sean Connery in the 1964 classic Goldfinger.

At 38 — five years older than 007 Sean at the time — she was one of the oldest to play a Bond girl. But she became one of the film series’ all-time favourites.

Honor died peacefully at home in Lewes, East Sussex, from natural causes, surrounded by her family.

She emerged as high-kicking, often black-clad, action girl Cathy Gale in 1960s TV series The Avengers.

She appeared opposite Patrick Macnee, with whom she recorded the novelty song Kinky Boots in 1964 — a reference to the footwear she wore on the show.

It made the UK singles charts Top Ten when it was re-released in 1990.

Her many roles included that of goddess Hera in the 1963 fantasy film Jason and the Argonauts.

From 1990 to 1996 she showed her comedy talents in ITV’s The Upper Hand — playing Laura West, a glamorous gran with a taste for toyboys.

She previously appeared in the 1970s sitcom Robin’s Nest as Marion, the ex-wife of James Nicholls, played by Tony Britton.

Honor starred in a string of musicals too — including The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and Cabaret.

More recently, she toured in Honor Blackman as Herself, which looked back at her life and career.

In a statement yesterday her family said: “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.”

Honor, who was born in Plaistow, East London, was gifted acting lessons for her 15th birthday by her parents and began training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1940.

Her progress was halted by the war — during which she was a motorcycle dispatch rider for the Home Office. She landed her first West End stage role in 1947.

Twice-wed Honor first tied the knot with Bill Sankey in 1948. The marriage lasted eight years.

Then in 1961, she wed British actor Maurice Kaufmann and the pair adopted two children. They split in 1975 and Honor later revealed she preferred staying single.

Last night Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli led other tributes.

In a statement, the duo said: “Today we mark the passing of a film icon, Honor Blackman who shall forever be remembered as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger.

“She was an extraordinary talent and a beloved member of the Bond family.

“Our thoughts are with her family at this time.” Film director Edgar Wright described Honor as the “ultimate Bond Girl and original Avenger”.

Actor Joe McGann, 61, who starred with Blackman in The Upper Hand, said: “She was fiercely bright, superbly funny and a wonderful actress on screen and on stage.”

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