Hell for leather: Honor Blackman blazed a trail as Pussy Galore ...

Ideas

Hell for leather: Honor Blackman blazed a trail as Pussy Galore and more

Pioneering ‘danger-woman’ of ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Goldfinger’ dealt a knockout blow to the idea of a ‘weaker sex’

Daily Telegraph obituary

Honor Blackman, the actress, who has died at the age of 94, was once described as “the permissive society’s first sex goddess” for her television performance as the leather-clad, karate-kicking Cathy Gale in The Avengers, and as Pussy Galore (also leather-clad) in the 1964 Bond film Goldfinger.

She had taken small parts in films before she joined the cast of the cult television spy-fi caper in 1962. The show had begun a year earlier with Patrick Macnee – as the debonair secret agent John Steed – playing a supporting role to Ian Hendry. But when Hendry left and Macnee was promoted to the lead, producers took the decision – radical for the time – of pairing him with a female partner who was more than a match for him and the villains with whom they did battle every week.

Cathy Gale was the first danger-woman to appear on the UK’s television screens and it was the actress herself who shaped the character. She wore black leather, according to Macnee, because her trousers kept splitting when she inflicted her kicks on the baddies, and she took up judo, she recalled, “because the script just got so boring. It always said: ‘Cathy reaches into her handbag for a gun’.”..

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