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Honor Blackman

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Basic Information

Honor Blackman



Date of Birth: 12 December 1927
Place of Birth: London, England, UK
Height: 5' 6" (1.68 m)







Biography

Honor Blackman (born 22 August 1925) is an English actress, known for the roles of Cathy Gale in The Avengers (1962–64) and Bond girl Pussy Galore in Goldfinger (1964).


Life and career

Early life

Blackman was born in Plaistow, Newham, London. Her father was a statistician. Blackman was educated at Ealing Girls' School in west London and trained as an actress at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, after persuading her father that an appropriate birthday gift would be acting lessons. While attending the Guildhall School she also worked as a clerical assistant for the Home Office.

Films

Blackman's films include Quartet (1948) and So Long at the Fair (1950) with Dirk Bogarde, the 1958 story of the Titanic's sinking A Night to Remember (1958); Life at the Top (1965) with Laurence Harvey, The Virgin and the Gypsy (1970), and the Western films Shalako (1968) with Sean Connery and Brigitte Bardot and Something Big (1971) with Dean Martin. She played the role of Hera in Jason and the Argonauts (1963). She also did an overdub for an actress in the same film providing the voice for the character of Medea. More recently, the actress has had small roles in the films Bridget Jones Diary (2001) and Jack Brown and the Curse of the Crown (also 2001).

James Bond

Bond film supremo Albert R. Broccoli admitted that Blackman had been cast on the back of her success in The Avengers, despite the fact that the American audience had never even seen the programme. Broccoli said, "The Brits would love her because they knew her as Mrs. Gale, the Yanks would like her because she was so good, it was a perfect combination". Blackman was the first and one of two "Bond girls" older than the actor playing James Bond, and at 39 she was the oldest actress ever to play a Bond girl.

Theatre

In 1981, she was in the London revival of The Sound of Music opposite Petula Clark, which opened to rave reviews with, at that time, the largest advance sale in British theatre history. She spent most of 1987 at the Fortune Theatre. From 2005 to 2006, she toured the country as Mrs Higgins in My Fair Lady. Her show Word Of Honor premiered in October 2006. In April 2007, she took over the role of Fraulein Schneider from Olivier Award-winning actress Sheila Hancock, in Cabaret at the Lyric Theatre in London's West End. She left the show at the end of September 2007.

Television

One of her earliest appearances on TV was in a recurring role as Nichole, secretary/assistant to Dan Dailey's character of Tim Collier in the 1959 series The Four Just Men.

In a 1965 episode of The Avengers, titled "Too Many Christmas Trees", John Steed received his Christmas cards, one of which was from Cathy. "A card from Mrs Gale!", Steed exclaims in delight. Then, reading the inscription, he says in a puzzled voice, "Whatever can she be doing at Fort Knox...?". It was an inside joke, as Blackman was filming Goldfinger at the time.

Blackman co-starred with Richard Basehart as a married pair of Shakespearean actors who commit a homicide in the Columbo episode Dagger of the Mind with Peter Falk.

In 1986, she had a role in the Doctor Who serial The Trial of a Time Lord. From 1990 to 1996 she appeared as Laura West on The Upper Hand. Blackman took a guest role on Midsomer Murders as ex-racing driver Isobel Hewitt in the episode A Talent for Life. In September 2004, she briefly joined the Coronation Street cast in a storyline about wife swapping.

In 2007, she participated in the BBC TV project The Verdict, as one of 12 well-known figures forming a jury to hear a fictional rape case. The series was designed to explore the jury system. She was sworn in as a juror as "Honor Kaufmann".

Singing career

A song she recorded with Patrick Macnee during 1964, "Kinky Boots", was a surprise hit, peaking at #5 in 1990 after it was played incessantly by BBC Radio 1 breakfast show presenter Simon Mayo. After her appearance in Goldfinger, Blackman recorded a full album of songs, "Everything I've Got".

On 6 July 2009 Blackman released a new single "The Star Who Fell from Grace" composed by Jeff Chegwin and Adrian Munsey and compered a James Bond Prom as part of the "Welsh Proms" concert series.

Personal life

She married twice: Bill Sankey (1946–1956) and the British actor Maurice Kaufmann (1961–1975), with whom she appeared in the slasher film Fright (1971). They adopted two children, Barnaby and Lottie. She enjoys watching football. During the 1960s Blackman practiced Judo at the famous Budokwai dojo for her roles in The Avengers and Goldfinger.

Politics

Blackman is a signed supporter of Republic, The Campaign for an Elected Head of State, the UK campaign to replace the monarchy with a republic. She declined a CBE honour in 2002. She has also been a prominent supporter of the Liberal Democrats.

Partial filmography

  • Fame is the Spur (1947) (film debut, uncredited)
  • Quartet (1948)
  • Daughter of Darkness (1948)
  • Diamond City (1949)
  • A Boy, a Girl and a Bike (1949)
  • Conspirator (1949)
  • So Long at the Fair (1950)
  • Green Grow the Rushes (1951)
  • The Rainbow Jacket (1954)
  • Delavine Affair (1954)
  • Breakaway (1955)
  • The Glass Cage (1955)
  • The Square Peg (1958)
  • A Night to Remember (1958)
  • Danger List (1959) (short)
  • A Matter of WHO (1961)
  • Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
  • Goldfinger (1964)
  • The Secret of My Success (1965)
  • Moment to Moment (1965)
  • Life at the Top (1965)
  • Shalako (1968)
  • Twinky, also known as Lola (1969)
  • The Virgin and the Gypsy (1970)
  • Fright (1971)
  • Something Big (1971)
  • Columbo: Dagger of the Mind (1972) (TV)
  • To the Devil a Daughter (1976)
  • The Cat and the Canary (1979)
  • Minder on the Orient Express (1985) (TV)
  • Doctor Who (1986)
  • Tale of the Mummy (1998)
  • To Walk with Lions (1999)
  • Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)
  • New Tricks (2005)
  • Hotel Caledonia (2010)
  • Re-Uniting the Rubins (2010)

Discography

  • Everything I've Got (1964)

Trivia

  • Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#51). [1995]
  • 23 June 1962: Filmed her first "The Avengers" (1961) episode, "The Avengers: Death Dispatch (#2.13)" (1962).
  • 20 March 1964: Filmed her final "The Avengers" (1961) episode, "The Avengers: Lobster Quadrille (#3.26)" (1964).
  • Children by Maurice Kaufmann: daughter Lottie and son Barnaby.
  • Education: Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, England
  • Honor is involved with an organization called Fairtrade, which aims to ensure that third world producers get treated fairly and can make a living from their work.
  • Credits her father for her acting career because on her fifteenth birthday he offered her a choice - a bicycle or elocution classes. She chose the classes.
  • Measurements: 37C-23-35 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
  • She allegedly declined a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) honour in 2002.
  • Some sources list her date of birth as 22nd August 1926.
  • Extensively studied judo while starring in 'The Avengers.' Became so proficient with the martial art, she performed many of her own stunts.
  • At 38 she was the oldest Bond girl.


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