Tania Mallet, who played Bond girl Tilly Masterson opposite Sean Connery in 1964’s “Goldfinger,” has died at age 77.
The official James Bond Twitter account confirmed the news about the British actress – a cousin of Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren — with a post, saying: “Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”
Mallet was born May 19, 1941, in Blackpool to a British father, Henry Mallet, and a Russian mother, Olga Mironoff, who was the sister to Mirren’s father.
At age 16, she started her modeling career and achieved major success in the 1950s and 1960s.
In 2003, she told the Bond fan site MI6 that she gained the attention of Bond producer Cubby Broccoli when someone sent him a picture of her.
“I believe it was a picture taken by Henry Clark for Vogue and shows me lying on some rocks in a bikini,” she said, according to Hollywood Reporter.
Broccoli originally tested her for the part of Tatiana Romanova in 1963’s “From Russia With Love” – but Italian beauty Daniela Bianchi ultimately landed the role, according to the UK’s Mirror.
But Mallet got another shot at becoming a Bond girl the following year.
In 007’s third outing, “Goldfinger,” Masterson is first introduced when she beeps her horn at Bond as he drives his Aston Martin behind the villainous Auric Goldfinger along a windy road in Switzerland.
Unbeknownst to the spy with a license to kill, Masterson also was in hot pursuit of Goldfinger, seeking revenge for her sister Jill, who died after being painted in gold.
Sadly, Goldfinger’s henchman Oddjob has other plans for Masterson – killing her with his iconic, razor-rimmed hat before she can fulfill her goal.
In 1976, Mallet made her only other acting appearance, an uncredited role in TV’s “The New Avengers.”
She told MI6 that after “Goldfinger,” she decided to stick with modeling.
“Filming had been an interesting experience but I was always more comfortable in a small studio with just the photographer and his assistant,” she said.
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