Every cinema fan has seen a James Bond movie or two. Many of them are quite aged at this point, but they hold up like many of the other classics from the early 60’s and 70’s. Two of the best are Dr. No, Bond’s film debut and From Russia With Love, which premiered just one year later. It was the start of one of the longest-running film series of all time.
These two movies wouldn’t be the same without the Bond girl of course, and Eunice Gayson was a highlight of both films. She played Sylvia Trench in both films and she introduced the Bond girl role with the style and class that she was always known for.
Gayson was also part of the first iteration of another Bond classic, the phrase, “Bond, James Bond.” Apparently, she even had to help calm Sean Connery down the first time they tried to shoot the scene!
In Dr. No, Gayson is first seen at the Le Cercle club playing a few rounds of poker. Bond spots her and walks right over to get into the game. They catch each other’s eye, as tends to happen with Bond in these sorts of situations.
First, he asks her name, then she asks his name – to which he replies his now famous catchphrase. It was just one scene in a long series, but it remains one of the most iconic Bond moments to this day.
Gayson was born in 1928 in Surrey, United Kingdom and was not just a Bond girl. She started her career in the theater, portraying the Baroness of The Sound of Music for several years.
She first found a role on the big screen at the tender age of 20, in Between Ourselves, a television movie. Gayson never slowed down after that, starring in 4 more films in 1948 and another 5 in 1949.
Prior to becoming the first Bond girl at the age of 34, she worked consistently through the 1950’s on at least 1 or two projects a year. In a time when stars were chewed up and spit out by the movie industry, she managed to become a mainstay by keeping her head down and working hard.
In 1962 she got her big Bond break and the rest was, as they say, history. She starred in The Avengers television series in addition to several other tv shows and movies. By 1972, she was ready to call it a day on her long and fulfilling career at the age of 44.
She kept a quiet profile after her career ended, likely enjoying the fruits of all those years of labor. The news of her death is the first time she’s been heard of in popular culture for some time. Its bringing back memories for those of us who were around when these classic Bond flicks first came out.
Gayson was found dead at 90-years-old, but we’ll never forget her as the first Bond girl – the beginning of an icon that is still alive to this very day.
Share your memories about this awesome actress in the comments!