The actress Honor Blackman has died, aged 94.
Blackman originally rose to fame in the 1960s for her role as Cathy Gale in TV series The Avengers, later achieving global stardom as Pussy Galore in the Bond film Goldfinger.
She is said to have died of natural causes unrelated to coronavirus.
In a statement to the Guardian, Blackman’s family said: “It’s with great sadness that we have to announce the death of Honor Blackman aged 94. She died peacefully of natural causes at her home in Lewes, Sussex, surrounded by her family.
“As well as being a much-adored mother and grandmother, Honor was an actor of hugely prolific creative talent; with an extraordinary combination of beauty, brains and physical prowess, along with her unique voice and a dedicated work ethic, she achieved an unparalleled iconic status in the world of film and entertainment and with absolute commitment to her craft and total professionalism in all her endeavours she contributed to some of the great films and theatre productions of our times.”
Born in Plaistow, Essex, Blackman began training as an actress at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1940.
In a career spanning seven decades, her other notable roles included that of Hera in 1963 fantasy film Jason and the Argonauts, Professor Sarah Lasky in 1986 Doctor Who serial The Trial of a Time Lord, Laura West in the ITV sitcom The Upper Hand (1990–1996). She also appeared in five episodes of Coronation Street in 2004 as Rula Romanoff, an old friend of Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox).
Her final screen credit was in the Gold sitcom You, Me & Them opposite Eve Myles and Anthony Head.
In addition to her film, television and theatre work (including stints on the West End in The Sound of Music and Cabaret and a one-woman show, Word of Honor), Blackman also released an album, Everything I’ve Got, in 1965 and famously recorded a duet of the song ‘Kinky Boots’ with her Avengers co-star Patrick Macnee, which went on to become a surprise hit in 1990, reaching the top ten of the British Singles Chart after being promoted by BBC Radio One DJ Simon Mayo.
She is survived by her two children Barnaby and Lottie, and grandchildren Daisy, Oscar, Olive and Toby.