Although she will forever be remembered as two glamorous 1960s icons – the leather-clad, judo-savvy Catherine Gale in The Avengers (1962-64) and improbably named Pussy Galore in the third James Bond film, Goldfinger (1964) – Honor Blackman was an actor of considerable dexterity, able to balance her sex-symbol status with an often shrewd choice of roles in the theatre.
Born in Plaistow, east London, she took elocution lessons and classes at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama before working as a Civil Service clerk. Success in a poetry recital competition turned her thoughts to the stage.
She made her West End debut in 1946 in Warren Chetham Strode’s The Gleam at the Globe Theatre before signing to then uber-British film company Rank Organisation, a choice that prevented her playing Ophelia for Peter Brook at Stratford.
Although she went on to find nearly constant exposure on film and television, nothing matched her initial screen successes save for a seven-year spell as a young-at-heart mother in 95 episodes of sitcom The Upper Hand from 1990.
Her theatre appearances were many and varied, including alongside Hylda Baker and John Neville in Mr and Mrs, based on the plays of Noel Coward, at Manchester’s Palace Theatre in 1968. She also appeared in a 1977 tour of Terence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea and Tom Stoppard’s Night and Day at the Playhouse Theatre in Perth, Australia in 1979.
Musicals featured, too, not least as the Baroness in The Sound of Music at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in 1981, Mother Superior in Nunsense (Fortune Theatre, London, 1987), Mrs Higgins in the 2005 touring revival of My Fair Lady and Fräulein Schneider in Cabaret (Lyric Theatre, London, 2007).
In 2007, she devised her own, semi-autobiographical one-woman show, Word of Honor.
Kinky Boots, a comic song recorded with Patrick Macnee – who also starred in The Avengers – flopped on its 1964 release, but was a top five chart hit following its 1990 reissue.
A Liberal Democrat supporter and staunch republican, she refused a CBE in 2002.
Honor Blackman was born on August 22, 1925 and died on April 6, aged 94.