Born this day in 1925
Pussy Galore in Goldfinger
Londoner Honor Blackman was one of four children who attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. During the war, she became a dispatch rider and developed an athleticism that she has called upon in her acting career over the decades.
After the war, she took to the stage in London’s West End, first as an understudy then with roles in “The Gleam” (1946) and “The Blind Goddess” (1947). Her first onscreen role in the Michael Redgrave film Fame Is the Spur (1947) established an odd pattern in which Blackman’s characters would meet untimely deaths – sort of reminds me of Sean Bean’s characters always dying. Anyway, Blackman found steady work as an actor through the end of the decade.
During the 1950s, Blackman’s career suffered a personal setback when she and her husband, Bill Sankey, divorced. She took a couple of years to regain her health; she had to rebuild her acting career in the B films. Her calling came in 1961.
Decked in leather from head to toe, Blackman was cast as Mrs Cathy Gale opposite Patrick Macnee’s John Steed in the hugely influential television series The Avengers. Sexy and confidant, Blackman became a figure that inspired women as the feminist movement sparked to life during the 1960s and became a movement into the 1970s.
I have seen Jason and the Argonauts (1963) several times and I’m still surprised to learn that Blackman was Hera, the Greek goddess. A year later, she was Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. Like other Bond Girls after her, Blackman continued to work steady in the industry, but she never went on to bigger, brighter, memorable roles since then.
Blackman has been cast as a semi-regular character on several television series include Doctor Who (1986) as Professor Lasky, as Rula Romanoff in the soap opera Coronation Street (2004), and as Laura West in The Upper Hand (1990-1996).
Blackman is a Liberal Democrat; hence when she was asked if she would accept the honor of a CBE, she declined.
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