Blackman in 2000
Born 22 August 1925 Died 5 April 2020 (aged 94) Occupation Years active 1947–2015 Spouse(s)
Honor Blackman (22 August 1925 – 5 April 2020) was an English actress, known for the roles of Cathy Gale in The Avengers (1962–1964),  Bond girl Pussy Galore in (1964), Julia Daggett in Goldfinger (1968) and Shalako Hera in (1963). She is also known for her role as Laura West in the Jason and the Argonauts ITV sitcom (1990–1996).
The Upper Hand
Blackman was born on 22 August 1925 in
Plaistow, the daughter of Edith Eliza (Stokes) and Frederick Blackman, a civil service  statistician.  She attended  North Ealing Primary School and Ealing County Grammar School for Girls. For her 15th birthday, her parents gave her acting lessons and began her training at the  Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1940. While attending the Guildhall School, Blackman worked as a clerical assistant for the Home Office. Following graduation, she was an understudy in the West End play . The Guinea Pig In 1947 she appeared in the  Patrick Hastings play at the The Blind Goddess Apollo Theatre.
Blackman's film debut was a nonspeaking part in
(1947). Fame Is the Spur Her other films include  (1948), Quartet based on short stories by  W. Somerset Maugham, starring Dirk Bogarde; (1949), Diamond City (1950), So Long at the Fair in which she again appeared with Dirk Bogarde;  (1958), A Night to Remember an account of the  disaster; the comedy Titanic (1958); The Square Peg  (1965) with Life at the Top Laurence Harvey;  (1970), The Virgin and the Gypsy and the Western films  (1968) with Shalako Sean Connery and Brigitte Bardot, and  (1971) with Something Big Dean Martin.
Hera in (1963), Jason and the Argonauts which featured stop-motion animation by  Ray Harryhausen. She had roles in the films (2001) Bridget Jones's Diary and  Jack Brown and the Curse of the Crown (also 2001).
During the 1960s, Blackman practised
judo at the Budokwai dojo. This helped her prepare for her roles as Cathy Gale in The Avengers and Pussy Galore in (1964). Goldfinger  Albert R. Broccoli said Blackman was cast opposite Sean Connery in the James Bond films on the basis of her success in the British television series . He knew that most American audiences would not have seen the programme. Broccoli said, "The Brits would love her because they knew her as Mrs. Gale, the Yanks would like her because she was so good, it was a perfect combination." The Avengers
At 38, Blackman was five years older than star Sean Connery and one of the oldest actresses to play a
In 1968, Blackman appeared opposite
John Neville and Hylda Baker in the musical play Mr & Mrs, based on the plays of Noël Coward. In the late 1970s, she toured Australia and New Zealand with  Michael Craig and Colleen Clifford in the comedy play . In February 1979, she starred in Move Over, Mrs Markham Stephen Barry's production of Tom Stoppard's at the Night and Day Perth Playhouse, coinciding with Stoppard's presence as a participant in the Festival of Perth.
In 1981, she appeared in a London revival of
opposite The Sound of Music Petula Clark. The production opened to rave reviews and the largest advance sale in British theatre history to that time. She spent most of 1987 at the Fortune Theatre starring as the Mother Superior in the West End production of . Nunsense
Blackman returned to the theatre in 2005, touring through 2006 with a production of
, in which she played Mrs. Higgins. She developed a one-woman show, My Fair Lady Word of Honor, which premiered in October 2006. From April to September 2007, Blackman took over the role of Fraulein Schneider in at the Lyric Theatre in London's West End. Cabaret
Blackman started acting on television in the recurring role of "Nicole", secretary/assistant to
Dan Dailey's character of Tim Collier in the television series (1959). The Four Just Men In an episode of  The Saint titled "The Arrow of God" (1962), Blackman played an adulterous personal secretary named Pauline Stone, who became one of several suspects in the murder of a despised gossip columnist.
In an episode of
The Avengers, "Too Many Christmas Trees" (1965), John Steed received a Christmas card from Cathy Gale. Reading the envelope, he says in a puzzled voice, "Whatever can she be doing at Fort Knox ...?" It was an inside joke, as Blackman was filming at the time. Goldfinger
In December 1969 and in February 1993, Blackman was taken by surprise as the subject of
. This Is Your Life In 1972, Blackman (as a "Special Guest Star") and  Richard Basehart played a married pair of Shakespearean actors who commit murder in the American crime mystery series (episode " Columbo Dagger of the Mind"). In 1983, she appeared in a film production of Agatha Christie 's novel, The Secret Adversary, in the role of Rita Vandemeyer, and as Juno/  Empress Eugénie in the BBC television production of . Orpheus in the Underworld
In 1986, she had a role in "
Terror of the Vervoids", a segment of the serial Doctor Who . The Trial of a Time Lord From 1990 to 1996, she appeared as Laura West on  . In 2003, Blackman took a guest role on The Upper Hand as ex-racing driver Isobel Hewitt in the episode "A Talent for Life". In September 2004, she briefly joined the Midsomer Murders, cast in a storyline about Coronation Street wife swapping. In 2007, she participated in the BBC TV project . She was one of 12 well-known figures who made up a jury to hear a fictional rape case. The series was designed to explore the jury system. She was sworn in as a juror as "Honor Kaufmann". In 2013, she guest-starred in the BBC medical drama The Verdict Casualty and in  . By Any Means
Blackman also appeared in a number of episodes of
with Never the Twain Donald Sinden and Windsor Davies as vet Veronica Barton.
Blackman's recording with
The Avengers co-star Patrick Macnee of " Kinky Boots" (1964), referring to the boots she wore in the show, was a surprise hit. In 1990 it resurfaced on the chart, peaking at No. 5 after being played incessantly by BBC Radio 1 breakfast show presenter Simon Mayo. After her appearance in , she recorded a full album of songs titled Goldfinger Everything I've Got.
In 1968, Blackman released a 45 of "Before Today"/"I'll Always Be Loving You" (CBS 3896), which were featured in the musical play
Mr & Mrs. In 1983 she sang as Juno in a special TV production of Jacques Offenbach's  . Orpheus in the Underworld
On 6 July 2009, Blackman released a new single, "The Star Who Fell from Grace", composed by Jeff Chegwin and Adrian Munsey.
She also compered the James Bond Prom, part of the "Welsh Proms" concert series in 2009. 
Blackman appeared in the
audio drama Doctor Who , in which she plays the role of Anahita, released in December 2011. The Children of Seth
Blackman was married twice. She was married to Bill Sankey from 1948 to 1956.
After their divorce, she married British actor  Maurice Kaufmann (1961–75). They appeared together in the slasher film (1971) and some stage productions. They adopted two children, Lottie (1967) and Barnaby (1968). Fright
After her divorce from Kaufmann, she did not remarry and stated that she preferred being single. She enjoyed watching football.
Blackman owned a summer house in
Islesboro, Maine, United States.
Blackman died at her home in
Lewes, East Sussex, on 5 April 2020, aged 94, from natural causes. 
Blackman was a
British Republican, a member of the Liberal Democrats and was previously a member of the Liberal Party, campaigning for the party at the 1964 general election.  She declined a  CBE in 2002, as she felt that as a republican it would be hypocritical to accept the award. She publicly supported changing the British electoral system from  first-past-the-post to alternative vote for electing members to the House of Commons in the Alternative Vote referendum in 2011.
In 2012 Blackman publicly criticised actor
Sean Connery, her Bond co-star in the 1960s, for his status as a tax exile. She said "I disapprove of him strongly now. Because I don't think you should accept a title from a country and then pay absolutely no tax towards it. He wants it both ways. I don't think his principles are very high."
Following the death of
Margaret Thatcher in April 2013, when asked about her thoughts on Thatcher, Blackman responded:
She's not my idea of Heaven I have to say. Although she did some good things in her time, she was merciless about the unions. I'm not too happy about
the Falklands either. We lost men, we took injuries and we blew up a ship. I suppose we need it for a base, but my common sense tells me that it does belong more to Argentina than it does to us. Lots of people may throw things at me for saying that about Thatcher, but hopefully not during the performance. She was a powerful figure, but she did damn all for empowering women. She didn't surround herself with any women whatsoever or encourage women to come into politics or do anything in particular. She could have been a quite wonderful role model. 
Blackman appeared in the following films:
(1947) as Emma (uncredited film debut) Fame Is the Spur 
(1948) as Julie Tallent Daughter of Darkness
(1948) as Paula (segment "The Alien Corn") Quartet
(1949) as Susie Bates A Boy, a Girl and a Bike
(1949) as Joyce Conspirator
(1949) as Mary Hart Diamond City
(1950) as Rhoda O'Donovan So Long at the Fair
(1951) as Meg Cuffley Green Grow the Rushes
(1952) as Eva Come Die My Love
(1954) as Mrs. Tyler The Rainbow Jacket
(1954) as Marcelle Diplomatic Passport
(1955) as Maxine Banner The Delavine Affair
(1955) as Jenny Pelham The Glass Cage
(1956) as Paula Grant / Paula Jackson Breakaway
(1957) as Susie Westlake You Pay Your Money
(1957) as Lynn Pearson Suspended Alibi
(1957) as Sarah Hayward Account Rendered
(1958) as Mrs. Liz Lucas A Night to Remember
(1958) as Lesley Cartland The Square Peg
(1958-1959, TV Series) as Pat Murray / Grace Bowler / Isobel Thorne African Patrol
(1959, Short) as Gillian Freeman Danger List
(1961) as Sister Bryan A Matter of WHO
(1962) as Ann Rogers Serena
(1962, TV Series) as Pauline Stone The Saint
(1962–1964, TV Series) as The Avengers Cathy Gale
(1963) as Jason and the Argonauts Hera
(1964) as Goldfinger Pussy Galore
(1965) as Baroness Lily von Luckenberg The Secret of My Success
(1965) as Norah Huxley Life at the Top
(1965) as Daphne Field Moment to Moment
(1968) as Lady Julia Daggett Shalako
(1968) as Julie Chambois A Twist of Sand
(1968) as Kampf um Rom I Amalaswintha
(1969, also known as Twinky Lola) as Mummy
(1969) as Kampf um Rom II Amalaswintha
(1970) as Katherine Whiteley The Last Grenade
(1970) as Mrs. Fawcett The Virgin and the Gypsy
(1971) as Helen Fright
(1971) as Mary Anna Morgan Something Big
(1972, TV Series) as Mary Answorth Boney: Boney In Venom House
(1972, TV Series) as Lillian Stanhope Columbo: Dagger of the Mind
(1976) as Anna Fountain To the Devil a Daughter
(1977) a Mrs. Boswell Ragtime Summer
(1978) as Susan Sillsby The Cat and the Canary
(BBC TV, 1983) as Orpheus in the Underworld Juno / Empress Eugénie
(1984, TV Mini-Series) as Ursula Schumann The First Olympics: Athens 1896
(1985, TV Series) as Helen Speeder Minder on the Orient Express
(1986, Episode: " Doctor Who Terror of the Vervoids") as Professor Lasky
(1990–1996, TV Series) as Laura West The Upper Hand
(1998) as Captain Shea Tale of the Mummy
(1999) as Joy Adamson To Walk with Lions
(2001) as Penny Husbands-Bosworth Bridget Jones's Diary
Jack Brown and the Curse of the Crown (2004) as Madeline Dubouir
Midsomer Murders: A Talent for Life(2003, TV Series) as Isobel Hewitt
(2005, TV Series) as Kitty Campbell New Tricks
(2005) as Madam Colour Me Kubrick
(2005, TV Movie) as Countess Lucinda Reeves Summer Solstice
(2009, TV Series) as Constance Evergreen Hotel Babylon
(2010) as Gran Rubin Reuniting the Rubins
(2012) as Joan I, Anna
(2012) as Peggy Cockneys vs Zombies
(2013, TV Series) as Agatha Kirkpatrick Casualty
(2013, TV Series) as Celia Butler By Any Means You, Me & Them (2015, TV Series) as Rose Walker (final appearance)
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