Actress Honor Blackman, aka Bond Girl "Pussy Galore," Dies at 94

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Actress Honor Blackman, aka Bond Girl "Pussy Galore," Dies at 94

Honor Blackman, best known for portraying arguably the most iconic Bond girl of all time, has passed away at age of 94, according to the actress’ family. Blackman, who took on the famously wry name of “Pussy Galore” in 1964’s Goldfinger, was likewise famous for her starring role in the 1960s British spy TV series The Avengers. The death was reported to be of natural causes, unrelated to the current coronavirus pandemic. She was described to The Guardian by family as “an adored mother and grandmother” with “an extraordinary combination of beauty, brains and physical prowess.”

The “physical prowess” they referred to is something Blackman apparently picked up in the production of The Avengers, as she had to learn judo and other combat skills in the role of Cathy Gale, which also helped launch her film career. Fighting alongside actor Patrick Macnee as John Steed, Blackman was an immediate sensation in her leather outfits and boots, which resulted in a top 10 hit novelty song “Kinky Boots” that was recorded by the duo.

It was an obvious jumping off point to Goldfinger, the third film in the James Bond series, where Blackman took on her most famous role of Pussy Galore, an enforcer for the titular villain Goldfinger. It established a running motif of the series as well: Bond being confronted with powerful, dangerous female enforcers and then eventually winning them over to his side via seduction. Not the most progressive character archetype, perhaps, but a product of a different time.

“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,” said family in a statement. “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.”

Other prominent Blackman roles included queen of the gods Hera in Jason and the Argonauts, which saw her causing much grief for Jason from the top of Olympus, and Laura West in the 1990s sitcom The Upper Hand, not to mention years of live theater productions. That included a more recent one-woman show, Honor Blackman as Herself, which functioned as a career retrospective.

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