Honor Blackman, the potent British actress who took James Bond’s breath away as Pussy Galore in “Goldfinger” and who starred as the leather-clad, judo-flipping Cathy Gale in “The Avengers,” has died. She was 94.
Blackman’s family said in a statement Monday that she died peacefully of natural causes at her home in Lewes, in southeastern England.
The honey-voiced Blackman first became a household name the 1960s spy TV series “The Avengers.” She joined the show in the second season as Cathy Gale, the leather-wearing anthropologist with martial arts skills.
But Blackman’s most famous role was as Pussy Galore in 1964’s “Goldfinger,” the third Bond movie. In it, she made an impression from the start, memorably introducing herself to Sean Connery’s just awoken James Bond.
“Who are you?” Bond asks.
“I’m Pussy Galore.”
“I must be dreaming,” he responds, smiling to himself.
Blackman was 39 when she landed the role of Bond’s love interest, and she long maintained the term of “Bond girl” didn’t apply to her. In the film, Pussy Galore is the leader of a group of women aviators enlisted by the villain Auric Goldfinger. She uses judo (a skill carried over from “The Avengers”) to attack Bond, who later holds her down to kiss her.
Blackman considered Pussy Galore a kind of early feminist, and a different breed than the average Bond woman.
“In so many of the films, the girls just looked at James and fell flat on their backs,” Blackman told the magazine TV Times in 2014. “Yet Pussy Galore was a career woman — a pilot who had her own air force, which was very impressive. She was never a bimbo.”
The character’s double-entendre name was one producers said they had to convince censors to permit. But Pussy Galore has regularly ranked as among the most popular “Bond women.”
Blackman is survived by two children and four grandchildren.