Rob Young, Honor Blackman Flickr

Remembering the iconic Bond girl Honor Blackman

Goldfinger was the first film that I ever adored. All throughout my early teens, I would watch it religiously every weekend and could probably recite it word for word at one point in my life. James Bond as a franchise was a huge part of my life and I still find a lot of comfort in re-watching any of the Bond films.

After hearing last week that one of the stars of one of my favourite childhood films had passed away, it brought back a lot of memories about how much I loved Goldfinger and how ground-breaking Honor Blackman had been for her time.

Best known for her role as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, Honor Blackman became a household name over the years for her role in the 1960s TV production of ‘The Avengers’. This was a TV series that aired in Britain in the 1960s and it was about espionage. Blackman played a leading role as Cathy Gale and this launched her career in Britain where she began to be a household name

Goldfinger producer and James Bond legend Albert R. Broccoli claimed to have cast Blackman because of her role in The Avengers. As a predominantly British programme, he believed this would launch her fame worldwide.

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson, both producers on the Bond films, called Blackman a “film icon…who shall forever be remembered as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger.”

During the Second World War, Blackman didn’t shy away from duty and worked as a motorcycle dispatch rider.

Blackman’s origins in a lower-class family from East London makes her trailblazing in so many ways. In an industry still dominated by actors from more affluent upbringings, to have made it and became a star in such a well-recognised franchise as Blackman did is amazing. I have to tip my hat to someone coming from a very untraditional Hollywood upbringing.

During the Second World War, Blackman didn’t shy away from duty and worked as a motorcycle dispatch rider. Not only was Blackman a national treasure in the world of film as this shows how much she contributed to the future of the country. This perhaps provided some of the inspiration for the bad-ass role she played in Goldfinger.

As a Bond girl, Blackman was undoubtedly ground-breaking, setting the tone for any that appeared after. When you imagine classic Bond girls, Blackman always comes to mind and I believe she defined the level for Bond girls for years to come. She was feisty, powerful and more than a match for Sean Connery’s Bond which was needed in the Bond franchise.

Something that was quite ground-breaking about her appearance as a Bond girl was that she was 38 at the time which made her one of the oldest women to appear alongside James Bond. As an older, more prevalent character who didn’t necessarily conform to the cookie-cutter model of what a Bond girl should be, Blackman revolutionised Bond girls forever.

Not only did she appear as classic characters in TV and film productions, she also appeared on the stage in shows like My Fair Lady and Cabaret, demonstrating her versatile career.

She was also a member of an anti-monarchy group and famously turned down a CBE in 2002 – something that only makes me respect her even more.

Blackman also continued to tour with theatre productions right up to the 2010s and made cameo appearances in programmes such as Doctor Who and BBC’s Hotel Babylon. She also starred in many one-woman performances, demonstrating her sheer versatility. Her career spanned decades, and this is an inspiration to many.

Politically, Blackman was an active figure. She was a member of the Liberal Democrats for many years and in 2012, criticised Sean Connery for being a tax exile. She was also a member of an anti-monarchy group and famously turned down a CBE in 2002 – something that only makes me respect her even more.

She saw herself as radically different to the Bond girls that came before and after her, and I have to agree in many ways. As an older woman who embodied a completely different type of Bond girl, her legacy in the film industry is unfounded.

From the first time I watched Goldfinger, I have always admired Honor Blackman and her role in changing the James Bond franchise. After researching more into, her incredible activism and trailblazing origins make me only admire her even more.

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