Honor Blackman — better known as Pussy Galore from the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger — has died at the robust age of 94. It’s a surprise to learn that she was expert enough at martial arts to have published her own book, Honor Blackman’s Book of Self Defence, the next year.
The scene where Pussy Galore throws Bond in a hayloft — and vice-versa — is beloved among Bond fans:
Blackman and Sean Connery seem to be enjoying their work, absurd as the scene may be. She later called him “the sexiest creature I have ever met” and added, “If you’re going to mess about with somebody, he was a good person to mess about with.”
But Blackman had thrown her weight around around before, in the TV spy series The Avengers. Lots of us remember Diana Rigg as Mrs. Peel in that show, but before Mrs. Peel it was Honor Blackman as judo expert Cathy Gale:
Blackman did her own stunts in The Avengers, so judo training was a must. Her two seasons of tossing bad guys around (1962-64) led to her role in Goldfinger. And that, in turn, led to Honor Blackman’s Book of Self-Defence, created with Bond stuntmen Doug and Joe Robinson in 1965.
Some of the moves are what you’d expect: how to take down an attacker in a deserted brick alley with a “simple” waist hip throw.
But a cheerfully large portion of the book is devoted to Blackman clobbering romance-minded cads at parties, in parks, and at the pub. Yeah!
The pop culture blog Voices of East Anglia wrote a wonderful recap of the book in 2012, with many more photos of Blackman giving would-be Lotharios the treatment they deserve. (The book’s Dutch title, they note, was Handen Thuis Heren…! – that is, Hands Off, Gentlemen!) Don’t expect to find copies of the book lying around; the only copy on Amazon at this moment is priced at $140.
A fun sidelight to a lively career. Honor Blackman joins another always-up-for-a-tumble 1960s action star, Robert Conrad, on our list of famous people who have died in 2020. Safe travels, Ms. Blackman, wherever you may be.
Now see our Honor Blackman biography »