Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ah, Miss Moneypenny! ....Day 45 of Bond 365

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you Bond aficionados!

Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny
Lois Maxwell
Born this day in 1927
Miss Moneypenny, Bond films 1962 – 1985

She was born Lois Ruth Hooker in Ontario, Canada. Like many teenage girls, she started earning money from babysitting jobs, but she was looking for something more. She landed a job as a waitress at a ritzy summer resort called Bigwin Inn, however, Maxwell was still restless. At 15, she joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corps and became part of the Army Show and was eventually stationed in the United Kingdom. After the war, she enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), where she met a fellow Bond alum, Roger Moore.

Maxwell moved to Hollywood when she was 20 and won a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer for her role in That Hagen Girl in 1947. She shared a Life photo shoot with another promising actress, Marilyn Monroe. She was in a series of B films and decided to move to Rome where she continued as an actress, where at one point, she starred with another up-and-coming star, Sophia Loren.

In 1957, Maxwell married Peter Marriott. They moved to London. She worked in television on such shows such as Danger Man with Patrick McGoohan, The Saint and The Persuaders! both starring Roger Moore. Interestingly, Maxwell lobbied director Terence Young for a role in Dr. No. Her husband was in ill health and they needed the money. Young offered her either Miss Moneypenny or Sylvia Trench. She was not interested in the scene in which Trench would have to reveal skin, so she chose the secretarial role. And, Maxwell wore her own clothing for the two-day shoot.

Connery was angry at Maxwell for appearing with his brother in Operation Kid Brother in 1967. Bernard Lee appeared in the spoof as well (I wonder if Connery was pissed at him too?). In 1971, Maxwell was almost re-cast when she wanted more money. And when Roger Moore took over for Connery in Live and Let Die (1973), Maxwell stayed on through A View to a Kill (1985), which happened to be Moore’s last outing as well. She asked that Broccoli kill off Miss Moneypenny, but he re-cast the role with Caroline Bliss.

Maxwell did not let grass grow under her feet. Besides acting, she wrote a column for Toronto Sun, penning under the name Miss Moneypenny. She also worked in the textile industry while living in Canada. Eventually, she moved back to England to be closer to her daughter, retiring to Somerset. In 2001 she moved to Australia to be with her son and his family. She was working on her autobiography when she died in 2007.

After her death, Moore expressed his disappointment that Broccoli did not promote Moneypenny to the role of M (hey, she had the right letter for goodness sakes!). I think I read somewhere that she also had wanted to play M. It is too bad, especially since in Craig’s era of Bond, we have gotten a small glimpse of the new Moneypenny having worked in the field prior to taking to the desk as M’s assistant.

If you did not get enough of Miss Moneypenny in the films, there is a trilogy of books collected under the title The Moneypenny Diaries written by Samantha Weinberg, edited by Kate Westbrook (a pseudonym of Weinberg). They are published by Ian Fleming Publications and are easily purchased as electronic copies through Amazon and iTunes.

James Bond
Passed away this day in 1989
Ornithologist, Bond namesake

Have a look at January 4 in which I wrote an entry about Bond's namesake.

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