Honor Blackman poses for a photograph. File/TNS
Honor Blackman, the British actress whose portrayal of sultry heroine Pussy Galore captivated filmgoers in the 1964 James Bond movie “Goldfinger,” has died. She was 94.
She died at her home in Lewes, England, of natural causes, according to the Associated Press, citing a family statement released Monday.
Taking on the role in her late 30s, Blackman was the most senior “Bond girl” and one of only two leading actresses to be older than her Agent 007 costar in the first half-century of the franchise. Athletic and eloquent with a husky voice, she portrayed the blonde, pantsuit-wearing jet pilot and judo expert to such acclaim that she set the blueprint for other no-nonsense, headstrong Bond women.
“You can turn off the charm — I’m immune,” Galore tells Bond when meeting him aboard Auric Goldfinger’s private plane.
The viewer is led to believe that Galore isn’t interested in Bond, played by Sean Connery, or any other man for that matter, until the pair exchange judo moves in a barn and she falls for him during a roll in the hay. The final scene of the film leaves the happy couple intertwined beneath their getaway parachute in a routine Bond signoff.
In 2007, Entertainment Weekly ranked Blackman as the second-best “Bond girl” ever. Ursula Andress, who played Honey Rider in “Dr. No” (1962), topped the list.
“Blackman rounded off Pussy’s cardboard edges, introducing fans to the series’ first real woman — a gorgeous dame who can fly a plane and kick butt,” the magazine said.
“Goldfinger,” the third movie based on Ian Fleming’s books, followed the dastardly plans of its namesake villain to raid the gold depositories at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Galore is initially loyal to Goldfinger before switching allegiance to Bond when she finds out about her boss’s intention to use poison gas to gain access to the vaults.
Pussy Galore was among the most suggestive character names taken by any of the women associated with Bond. The double entendre was parodied in the Austin Powers series of comedy spy films, starring Mike Myers, three decades later.
Blackman was previously known for her portrayal of Catherine Gale, a motorcycle-riding judo fighter who wore black leather, in the 1960s hit television series “The Avengers.” She was replaced in the series by Diana Rigg.
Blackman was born on Aug. 22, 1925, in Plaistow, East London.
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