In the world of James Bond, one “Bond girl” looms over the rest, and routinely tops any list of 007’s female foils: Pussy Galore, played in the 1964 film Goldfinger by the great Honor Blackman. Sadly, Blackman passed away this week at her home in England at the age of 94. In a true sign of the times, The Guardian notes that the cause of death was “natural causes unrelated to coronavirus.”

Blackman’s family gave this statement on her passing to The Guardian:

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.

Blackman came to Bond by way of The Avengers, the popular British spy series of the 1960s. She played Cathy Gale, the first of the series regular female leads opposite Patrick Macnee’s John Steed. The strong, dynamic character is considered a landmark in British TV history, and her choice of fashions, particularly leather catsuits and kinky boots, were highly influential during the mid-1960s. Blackman appeared on two seasons of The Avengers, and then left the show to appear in Goldfinger.

In Goldfinger, she played Pussy Galore, who initially works for the evil Auric Goldfinger, but is eventually convinced to betray him by Sean Connery’s Bond. Tough, witty, and, yes, absolutely gorgeous, Blackman wasn’t the first Bond girl, but her combination of grit and sex appeal became the standard by which basically every single actress who followed her in the franchise was measured. Her repartee with Connery has arguably never been surpassed by anyone who followed her. (Her judo’s mighty good too.

Blackman also appeared in films like Jason and the ArgonautsThe Virgin and the Gypsy, and Shalako (reuniting her with Connery), and made numerous appearances in theater and on television. Still, she will largely remembered for The Avengers and Pussy Galore. Which, when you get right down to it, are two pretty incredible things to be remembered for.

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