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Tania Mallet, who played Tilly Masterson in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, has died. She was 77.
The official James Bond Twitter account on Sunday shared the news with the message: “We are very sorry to hear that Tania Mallet who played Tilly Masterson in GOLDFINGER has passed away. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”
Further details were not available.
Mallet, born May 19, 1941, in Blackpool, England, was the daughter of a British father, Henry Mallet, and a Russian mother, Olga Mironoff, who was the sister to Helen Mirren’s father, meaning Tania and Mirren were cousins.
Mallet got her start as a model at age 16, ultimately achieving a great deal of success throughout the 1950s and ’60s. In a 2003 interview with the James Bond fan site MI6, Mallet said she got the Goldfinger role after “someone sent a photo of me to [producer] Cubby Broccoli. I believe it was a picture taken by Henry Clark for Vogue and shows me lying on some rocks in a bikini.”
According to reports, she initially auditioned for the role of Tatiana Romanova in 1957’s From Russia With Love, but that part went to Italian actress Daniela Bianchi. But Broccoli ultimately cast her opposite Sean Connery in Goldfinger, which marked the third Bond film. In the movie, her character wants revenge on Goldfinger for her sister’s death but is ultimately killed by Oddjob’s iconic steel-rimmed hat before achieving her goal.
Mallet’s only other acting appearance onscreen was an uncredited role on an episode of the TV series The New Avengers in 1976. She told MI6 in 2003 that after filming Goldfinger, she made a conscious decision to go back to modeling, saying she was more comfortable in that world.
“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. “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. For instance, being forbidden to ride in case I had an accident, not being allowed to go abroad etc.”
She added that modeling was more lucrative than acting, which paid “dreadful” money.
“Originally, I was offered £50 per week, which I managed to push up to £150, but even so I earned more than that in a day modeling so the six months I worked (or was retained to work) on Goldfinger were real sacrifice,” she said.
We are very sorry to hear that Tania Mallet who played Tilly Masterson in GOLDFINGER has passed away. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time. pic.twitter.com/gMkqqheGJ7
— James Bond (@007) March 31, 2019
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