On this day in history : 22nd August 1925 – The birth of actress Honor Blackman – probably best known for her role as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger and as Cathy Gale in The Avengers….
Honor was born in Plaistow, East London and was one of the four children of Frederick and Edith Blackman…. Her father, a civil service statistician, believed his strong Cockney accent had held him back in his career and he was determined to give his children the best opportunities in life that he could…. For her 15th birthday Honor was given elocution lessons by her parents…. This might not sound the most exciting of presents for a 15 year old girl – but it was Honor’s choice – she was offered either the lessons or a bicycle…. She chose wisely….
Following her lessons Honor was admitted to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama…. She graduated and landed the role of understudy in the West End play The Guinea Pig – and then in 1947 she appeared at the Apollo Theatre in The Blind Goddess….
Her film debut came in 1947 – a non-speaking part in Fame is the Spur…. She then went on to roles in films such as A Night to Remember, 1958, The Square Peg, 1958 and Jason and the Argonauts, 1963….
Honor joined The Avengers in the first episode of the second series in 1962…. She played the part of Dr Cathy Gale alongside Patrick Macnee as John Steel…. Her character is remembered for her quick wit, her skill in judo and her love of tight fitting leather clothing….
Honor’s success in the series led her to be cast as Bond girl Pussy Galore in Goldfinger in 1964, opposite Sean Connery…. She was one of the oldest Bond girls to be cast, five years older than Connery – but according to public polls was perhaps the most popular….
Honor’s theatre career continued and she became a familiar face on television in the 1990s sitcom The Upper Hand – which ran for 96 episodes….
In 1999 she portrayed Joy Adamson in the film To Walk with Lions and in 2001 appeared in Bridget Jones’ Diary’…. In her late eighties she toured in her one woman show Honor Blackman as Herself….
Honor married twice; firstly to Bill Sankey in 1948 only to divorce in 1956…. Then in 1961 he married British actor Maurice Kaufmann and they adopted two children…. This marriage ended in 1975 and Honor did not remarry again, saying she preferred to be single…. She died at her home in Lewes, East Sussex on the 5th of April 2020, aged 94….