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James Bond girl and 'The Avengers' star Honor Blackman dies at 94

Diana Dasrath contributed.

Honor Blackman, an English actress best known for her roles as Cathy Gale in "The Avengers" and Bond girl Pussy Galore in "Goldfinger," died of "natural causes" unrelated to coronavirus at her home in Lewes, Sussex, her family announced in a statement to NBC News Monday. She was 94 years old.

For her fifteen birthday, Blackman's parents gifted her with acting lessons, upon which she enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her film debut was a nonspeaking part in the 1947 film "Fame is the Spur," however, she achieved breakthrough success two years later acting alongside Elizabeth Taylor in "Conspirator," a thriller about a young woman who falls in love with a spy for the Soviet Union.

Following her success in the British television series "The Avengers," Blackman was cast to star in the James Bond films opposite Sean Connery. Blackman was 38 years old when she was cast in "Goldfinger," making her one of the oldest actresses to play a Bond girl. She cited her practice of judo, a Japanese martial art, as helping her prepare for the role. Along with Joe and Doug Robinson, Blackman wrote about her action-packed roles in the 1966 book "Honor Blackman’s Book of Self-Defence," among the first books about martial arts aimed at young women.

Actress and singer Honor Blackman while recording her single 'The Star Who Fell From Grace' at Angel Studios on May 15, 2008 in London.Rosie Greenway / Getty Images file

From 1990 to 1996, Blackman starred as Laura West in "The Upper Hand," a British television show adapted from ABC's "Who's the Boss?" More recently, she appeared in "Bridget Jones's Diary" (2001), "Anna" (2012) and By Any Means (2013). Among her final appearances was as Rose Walker in "You, Me & Them", a television show about a couple who are more than 20 years apart in age.

Blackman was married twice, the first time to Bill Sankey from 1948 to 1956. Five years after their divorce, Blackman married British actor Maurice Kaufmann, with whom she adopted two children, Lottie and Barnaby.

Blackman is survived by her two children and her grandchildren Daisy, Oscar, Olive and Toby.

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