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Honor Blackman Quit the Avengers for James Bond Goldfinger

In the 1960s, the beautiful actress Honor Blackman took the world of British television by storm thanks to her role on the seminal spy series The Avengers. After appearing in a few seasons of the classic show, Honor quit so that she could take on the iconic role of Pussy Galore in the James Bond film Goldfinger. Join Facts Verse as we explore how Honor Blackman quit The Avengers for James Bond Goldfinger.

Honor Blackman’s Early Life

Honor Blackman was born in Plainstown on August 22, 1925. The young girl had quite the prestigious upbringing, despite the fact that her father was a mere civil-service statistician. For schooling, Honor started out attending North Ealing Primary School. From there, she moved onto Ealing County Grammar School for Girls. Upon the future star’s 15th birthday, her parents bestowed upon her a pair of gifts that would help out a great deal during her future career in entertainment. These gifts included acting lessons, as well as enrollment at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Honor Blackman became enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1940. During her time at the prestigious school, Honor worked as a clerical assistant within the school’s office. Not long after graduating, Honor was well on her way towards taking the entertainment industry by storm. She worked for several years as an understudy before finally receiving a big role of her own. This role came via the production of a Patrick Hastings play by the name of The Blind Goddess, which premiered at the Apollo Theatre.

Honor Blackman performed her role in the aforementioned Patrick Hastings play in 1947, which just so happened to be the very same year that the aspiring actress made her debut on the big screen. As is typically the case, Honor’s first role on cinema screens was a non-speaking one. The role came via the 1947 film Fame Is the Spur. A year later, in 1948, she could be seen in the Dirk Bogarde-starring film Quarter. The film was based upon short stories by acclaimed author W. Somerset Maugham. In 1950, Honor appeared on the screen alongside Dirk yet again in the film So Long at the Fair.

Honor Worked Her Butt Off to Get Her Big Break

Over the course of the 1950s, Honor Blackman slowly but surely continued to build up her resume. In 1951, she was given the chance to star alongside Richard Burton in the film Green Grow the Rushes. In 1958, she could be seen in the film A Night to Remember, which was based upon the disastrous journey of the RMS Titanic. The end of the 1950s also saw Honor branch out from stage and film acting into television. In 1959, she took up a recurring role as one of the main character’s secretaries on The Four Just Men.

In the early part of the 1960s, Honor Blackman would end up receiving a television role that would make her a star… at least, in her home country. From 1962 to 1964, Honor played the character of Dr. Cathy Gale on the seminal spy series The Avengers. The show was a big hit, and it brought Honor Blackman more attention than she had ever previously received. The character of Dr. Cathy Gale was a strong female. Honor Blackman studio judo in order to perform the role. Another aspect of the character that helped her appear to audiences was Cathy’s penchant for tight leather clothes.

The Avengers became a massive hit, and Honor Blackman was one of the show’s most prized assets. When Honor left the series in 1964, it likely came as a pretty big blow to the creative staff. However, they were all well aware that the star and bigger and better things ahead of her. Honor quit The Avengers after only two years, though she had a pretty good reason for doing so. As it turns out, the reason that she left the show was because she was offered the part of Pussy Galore in the then-upcoming James Bond film Goldfinger!

Albert R. Broccoli Chose Honor to Play Pussy Galore

According to legendary James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli, he knew he had to cast Honor Blackman in a James Bond film as soon as he saw her work on The Avengers. At the time, The Avengers was only popular in the how’s home country of England. Later on, the show would find a more global audience via syndication. Unlike The Avengers, the James Bond franchise was a property that needed to appeal just as much to audiences in America as audiences in the United Kingdom. Still, Albert didn’t feel like the American audiences lack of familiarity with Honor’s role on The Avengers mattered much. Albert had so much faith in the actress that he felt she could make just as strong of an impression on Americans as an unknown. Meanwhile, her Avengers popularity was a big plus on the home front.

Honor Blackman left The Avengers to perform the role of Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, and the rest is history! To this day, Pussy Galore stands as one of the most iconic Bond girls ever. The role took further advantage of Honor’s judo training, which she had taken up for her role as Dr. Cathy Gale. When it came to the way that Honor ended up being received by American audiences, Albert was right on the money. Even though they had no familiarity with the star’s television work, American audiences fell in love with her.

Goldfinger was released in 1964. It was only the third film in the James Bond franchise, after Dr. No and From Russia with Love. Goldfinger ended up being a much bigger hit than any of the two preceding films, both with critics and audiences. To this day, there are many James Bond fans that believe the film franchise peaked with Goldfinger. Though Honor Blackman isn’t the main reason for the movie’s continued success, she certainly contributed!

What Did Honor Blackman Do After Goldfinger?

While she was still working on The Avengers and just before leaving to work on Goldfinger, Honor Blackman appeared in another classic film. In 1963, Honor could be seen playing the part of Hera and the Ray Harryhausen production Jason and the Argonauts. If Goldfinger is often considered the best James Bond film, then Jason and Argonauts is commonly regarded as being the preeminent Ray Harryhausen feature. With these two iconic film roles back to back, it’s no wonder that Honor had the confidence to leave her steady gig on The Avengers behind. In 1965, the show paid reference to Honor leaving to go work on Goldfinger. The reference came via the episode “Too Many Christmas Trees”. In the episode, the character of John Steed received a Christmas card from Dr. Cathy Gale. Whatever was written on the Christmas card, it prompted John to ask, “whatever can she be doing at Fort Know?” Intuitive audience members knew that this was an allusion to the main plot of Goldfinger, in which the titular villain attempts to knock the famous army installation over.

After appearing alongside Sean Connery in Goldfinger, Honor Blackman reunited with him in 1968’s Shalako. In 1971, she was given the chance to grace the screen alongside none other than Dan Martin in Something Big. Around the same time, Honor also started making some significant waves in theater. In 1968, Honor appeared alongside John Neville in a musical title Mr. and Mrs. In 1972, she returned to television screens once more thanks to a small, yet memorable, role on the show Columbo.

By the late 1970s, Honor Blackman was appearing on the stage more and more. Her work on the stage saw her tour all across the world, including Australia and New Zealand. In 1981, Honor appeared in a London production of The Sound of Music. In addition to Honor, the production also starred Petula Clark. Notably, the play was a financial hit. In fact, it sold more advance tickets that any production before it!

Honor Blackman Persevered for Decades

In 1983, Honor Blackman appeared in a film by the name of The Secret Adversary, which was based upon the Agatha Christie novel of the same name. The same year, she appeared in a BBC production of the opera Orpheus in the Underworld. In 1986, Honor appeared on the British television staple Doctor Who. The episode that Honor appeared in was called “Terror of the Vervoids”, and it was part of the show’s 23rd season. Per Doctor Who tradition, the 23rd season formed a serial dubbed The Trial of a Time Lord.

The year after performing on Doctor Who, Honor Blackman returned to the stage yet again. She could be found at the Fortune Theater, performing the role of Mother Superior in a play by the name of Nunsense. In 1990, Honor joined the main cast of a television series called The Upper Hand.

The Upper Hand was a British television series that ran until 1996. Around the turn of the millennium, Honor Blackman returned to the silver screen via a role in the hit 2001 comedy Bridget Jones’s Diary. Though Bridget Jones’s Diary was a British film, it became a massive crossover hit, yielding a sequel in 2004. Sadly, Honor Blackman didn’t return for the sequel.

Honor Blackman’s Later Life

After performing in Bridget Jones’s Diary in 2001, Honor Blackman continued acting predominantly on the small screen and the stage over the course of the ensuing decade. She appeared on the shows Midsomer Murders and Coronation Street before taking to the stage in such high-profile productions as My Fair Lady and Cabaret.

As far as her personal life goes, Honor Blackman was married two times over the course of her lifetime. Her first husband was a man by the name of Bill Sankey, while her second husband was an actor named Maurice Kaufman. Though she never had any biological children, Honor and Maurice adopted two children during their marriage. After divorcing from her second husband, Honor never remarried. She passed away in April of 2020 from natural causes. At the time of her death, the Pussy Galore actress was 94.

Honor Blackman quit The Avengers to appear in the James Bond film franchise, and she never looked back! Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Honor Blackman trained in judo to perform the role of Dr. Cathy Gale on the seminal spy series The Avengers, and that said training later came in handy for her when she was working on the classic James Bond film Goldfinger? Comment down below!

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