Tania Mallet, the model and actress who memorably played Bond girl Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger, has died. She was 77 years old.
Her death was confirmed by the official Bond franchise Twitter account.
“We are very sorry to hear that Tania Mallet who played Tilly Masterson in GOLDFINGER has passed away,” the statement, which was posted on Sunday, reads. “Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”
The statement was accompanied by a photo of Mallet on the set of the film, in character as Tilly. A cause of death has not yet been reported.
Mallet, born and raised in Blackpool, England, began her career as a model, posing for magazines like Vogue. In a 2003 interview with Bond fan site MI6, Mallet said she believes it was a Vogue photo shoot that led producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli to see her photos, and ultimately cast her in Goldfinger alongside Sean Connery. The 1964 film was, at the time, only the third installment in the rising spy movie series. Mallet played Tilly, a vengeful woman seeking justice after the death of her sister, Jill (Shirley Eaton). She was later killed by one of Goldfingers henchmen, Oddjob.
The role would be Mallets first and last in the film world, though she also had a brief turn, in 1976, in the series The New Avengers. She quickly returned to modeling, later explaining that acting was simply not her calling. “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 in the 2003 interview. “Besides which, the restrictions placed on me for the duration of the filming grated, were dreadful, and I could not anticipate living my life like that.”
Mallet was also first cousins with Helen Mirren. In Mirrens 2008 memoir In the Frame: My Life in Words and Pictures, she praised Mallet as a “loyal and generous person” who helped support her family with her modeling income, according to the BBC.
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