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Obituaries

Eunice Gayson, the first James Bond girl, dead at 90

Gayson starred as Sylvia Trench alongside Sean Connery in Dr No and From Russia With Love

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 June, 2018, 12:16pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 June, 2018, 12:16pm

Eunice Gayson, the actor who played the first Bond girl in 007’s on-screen debut, has died at the age of 90.

Gayson starred as James Bond’s love interest, Sylvia Trench, alongside Sir Sean Connery in the 1962 film Dr No.

A post on her official Twitter feed said she died on 8 June.

“An amazing lady who left a lasting impression on everyone she met. She will be very much missed,” the post said.

The James Bond franchise’s producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, paid tribute to Gayson in a separate comment posted on the official James Bond Twitter account.

The message from the daughter and stepson of original Bond producer, Albert R Broccoli, appeared alongside a picture of Gayson in character as Trench.

“Our sincere thoughts are with her family,” the pair said.

Gayson is known for eliciting one of Bond’s most famous catchphrases.

Over a game of cards at the Le Cercle Club casino, Bond asks her for her name.

“I admire your courage, Miss, er?”

She replies: “Trench, Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck, Mr …?”

“Bond, James Bond,” Connery replies.

Speaking about the scene in 2012, Gayson recalled how she helped calm Connery’s nerves by taking him for a drink so he could deliver the line correctly.

“I’d known Sean for years and I’d never seen him so nervous as he was on that day because of all these delays,” she said.

“He had to say Bond, James Bond, but he came out with other permutations like Sean Bond, James Connery.

“[Director] Terence Young told me to take him away for a drink – even though he was meant to be on the wagon – so I took him off for a drink or two and he came back on set and said: ‘Bond, James Bond’. It was so wonderful. The day took off from that moment. He was so relaxed.”

Trench is the only Bond girl to feature in two films. She also appeared in From Russia With Love. Like other Bond girls in the 60s and 70s, however, Gayson’s voice was never heard in the films. Her lines were re-recorded by the voice-over artist Nikki van der Zyl.

Gayson was originally to be cast as Miss Moneypenny, but the part went to Lois Maxwell instead. Trench had been due to be a recurring character, but the idea was dropped by the director of Goldfinger, Guy Hamilton.

The actor was born in Surrey in 1928, and played in other screen roles including Hammer Horror’s 1958 movie The Revenge of Frankenstein and The Avengers.