A Question of Honor; She Struck Fear into the Heart of James Bond as Pussy Galore, but the Real HONOR BLACKMAN Is a Sensitive Woman Who Has Been Plagued by Mental Illness

The Evening Standard (London, England), April 21, 2007 | Go to article overview

A Question of Honor; She Struck Fear into the Heart of James Bond as Pussy Galore, but the Real HONOR BLACKMAN Is a Sensitive Woman Who Has Been Plagued by Mental Illness


Honor Blackman, barefoot and a shade weary in her theatre dressing room, is being disappointingly charming. She has offered tea, though she's the one who sounds as if she needs it for that classy rasp of hers, and is very chatty. I'm surprised because I was expecting to be intimidated by Pussy Galore, the James Bond villain with which she will be forever associated. 'Aah,' says Honor with a naughty smile, 'You've only been spared because I haven't been trying to frighten you.' She seems barely changed since her 1964 appearance with Sean Connery in Goldfinger.

That enduringly beautiful bone structure has helped her avoid the usual jowls and pouches of age, and she remains an elegant shade of blonde. What she describes matter-of-factly as her 'very good bosom' is still prominent under a black T-shirt.

Her career began in 1946 in the film Fame Is The Spur, but her big break came 15 years later with the TV adventure series The Avengers, co-starring Patrick MacNee as Steed. 'It was the hardest work I've ever done,' she says, 'although I enjoyed it. We didn't have a day off for the first year. I had to go to the gym to practise judo and choreograph fights, and I'd often have to stand for four hours while they fitted the leather outfits that became my trademark.'

MacNee called her 'the steeliest man I know - and that's a compliment in my book'.

She has worked with some of the world's most handsome leading men, including Dirk Bogarde in the film Quartet - 'he became rather bitter in his last years, but when I worked with him, he was charming,' says Honor. Then there was Dean Martin in Something Big.

'Everybody said it would be awful and that he would always be drunk,' she says, 'but he wasn't like that at all. He was the most professional person I've ever worked with. He was patient and funny, and very polite - a real gentleman. And he never drank while he was working.' She says he was sexy 'but not knockout so, not like dear Sean Connery'.

Her role in Goldfinger made her an international star and she credits Connery with the success of the film. 'The Bond films were very new, and no one could have foreseen that they would still be turning them out 40 years later. Sean was very self-assured, but anxious to learn, and I found him very sexy. Still do. But doesn't half the world feel the same way?' Honor does not look or behave as if she's anywhere near 79 - an age when anyone else would be described as old.

She does, admittedly, have a bad back, a legacy from The Avengers when her character, Dr Cathy Gale, would throw heavies about. But that hasn't stopped her embarking on a punishing eight-showsaweek run as Berlin landlady Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret on the London stage.

Considering that Lord Lloyd-Webber's protegee Connie Fisher, young enough to be Honor's granddaughter, was forced by exhaustion to take a rest from The Sound Of Music, can a soon-to-be-octogenarian really hack it for a six-month run?

'Fraulein Schneider is the kind of woman who just keeps on battling. She's a survivor, and so am I,' says Honor briskly. 'And, actually, five songs a night is not such a big sing. I have to do a bit of ballroom dancing, nothing wild; though I'd rather I didn't have to do it in high heels.

'I can do the job. That's what matters. I'm glad people are grown up enough now to acknowledge that you're not necessarily on the rubbish heap if you're a woman over 50. I mean, there are masses of young Sienna Whatnots out there, but look at all those marvellous old actresses - Sheila Hancock, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Helen Mirren - who are still working.' Honor had a mere two weeks of rehearsals to prepare for her opening night. 'It's been frantic, frantic, frantic, but I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be on stage. I love theatre; it gives me such a charge. It's that energising mixture of joy and terror. I still get nerves, though, before a show.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Question of Honor; She Struck Fear into the Heart of James Bond as Pussy Galore, but the Real HONOR BLACKMAN Is a Sensitive Woman Who Has Been Plagued by Mental Illness
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.