Honor Blackman

Bond Girls by Ajay Singh, 08 October 2010

Honor Blackman

Honor Blackman

From Avenger to pilot, flying high and hitting low.

The punningly named Pussy Galore was head of Auric Goldfinger’s private air force. Immune to the charms of men, she is dedicated and touch, taking no nonsense from anybody and fiercely loyal to her employer. However, the irresistible agent eventually manages to seduce the immovable woman and she turns against Goldfinger, aiding Bond in his mission and eventually conspiring to bring the gold obsessed killer to his demise.

Honor Blackman was one of the oldest actresses to play a Bond girl, being 39 when the film was made, though you would never know if from her looks! She had just completed a three year stint in the massively popular TV show “The Avengers” playing Cathy Gale, an emancipated and action oriented woman who took no lip from any man and put her judo skills to deadly use.

I was black and blue all over. Nobody believed I did the fighting myself, till they came to the gym and watched. I surprised myself in a way because playing Cathy revealed a violent streak in me that I didn’t know I’d got, though I suspect, deep down it’s in all of us.

Honor Blackman

Honor Blackman

She was therefore perfect casting for the role of Pussy, in one of her early scenes flattening Bond in a very similar manner. Blackman said in an interview years later that she was aware that in the novel, Pussy had been written as being a lesbian but chose to alter her interpretation to one of having been abused when younger.

Honor was born in London in 1925, and took acting lessons in her teens at the Guildhall. During the war, she worked at the civil service and as a dispatch rider.

I was only just old enough to ride a motor-bike and my mother was terrified, but I thought it was heaven. It was pretty dangerous because we were in the midst of war and had to mask the headlights during the blackout.

Her first appearances were in Ealing films, appearing in several throughout the 50s before coming to the attention of the public with a recurring role in the TV series “the Four Just Men”. Her star rocketed when she took the female lead in “The Avengers” which led directly to her casting as Pussy. Since Bond, she has had an incredibly successful career, appearing in films, television and on stage, even releasing an album.

I was already a James Bond fan but I asked to read ‘Goldfinger’ before taking the part and by the time I had read it, I was convinced it was absolutely me!

She has been married twice, firstly to Bill Sankey, then to Maurice Kaufman and adopted two children. She refused a CBE in 2002, as she is a fervent anti monarchist and is still acting and modeling.

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