Honor Blackman was born in Plaistow, Newham, London, England on August 22, 1925. Her father Frederick was a statistician. She attended North Ealing Primary School and Ealing County Grammar School for Girls. On her 15th birthday, her parents gave her acting lessons and she started training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1940. While attending the Guildhall School, Blackman worked as a clerical assistant for the Home Office.
Blackman's film debut was a nonspeaking part in “Fame is the Spur” (1947). Other films include “Quartet” (1948), “So Long at the Fair” (1950), “A Night to Remember” (1958), “The Square Peg” (1958), “Life at the Top” (1965), “The Virgin and the Gypsy” (1970), and her only Euro-western “Shalako” (1968) with Sean Connery and Brigitte Bardot and “Something Big” (1971).
Blackman played Hera in “Jason and the Argonauts” (1963). In the same film she also performed an overdub, providing the voice for the character of Medea. She had roles in the films “Bridget Jones's Diary” and “Jack Brown and the Curse of the Crown” (both 2001).
Albert R. Broccoli said that Blackman was cast opposite Sean Connery in the James Bond films based on her success in the British TV series, ‘The Avengers’. He knew that most American audiences would not have seen the program. Broccoli said, "The Brits would love her because they knew her as Mrs. Gale, the Yanks would like her because she was so good, it was a perfect combination".
During the 1960s, Blackman practiced judo at the famous Budokwai dojo. This helped her prepare for her roles as Cathy Gale in ‘The Avengers’ and Pussy Galore in “Goldfinger”. She was the first of two "Bond girls" who were older than the actor playing James Bond, and the oldest actress to play a Bond girl.
In 1981, Blackman appeared in the London revival of “The Sound of Music” opposite Petula Clark. The production opened to rave reviews and the largest advance sale in British theatre history to that time. She spent most of 1987 at the Fortune Theatre starring as the Mother Superior in the West End production of “Nunsense”. Blackman returned to the theatre in 2005, touring through 2006 with a production of “My Fair Lady”, in which she played Mrs. Higgins. She developed a one-woman show, “Word of Honor”, which premiered in October 2006. In April 2007, Blackman took over the role of Fraulein Schneider in “Cabaret” at the Lyric Theatre in London's West End. She left the show at the end of September 2007.
Blackman started acting in a TV production in a recurring role as Nichole, secretary/assistant to Dan Dailey's character of Tim Collier in the 1959 series ‘The Four Just Men’. Blackman co-starred with Richard Basehart as a married pair of Shakespearean actors who commit a homicide in the ‘Columbo’. In December 1969 and in February 1993, Blackman was taken by surprise as the subject of ‘This Is Your Life’. In 1986, she had a role in "Terror of the Vervoids", a segment of the ‘Doctor Who’ serial ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’. From 1990 to 1996, she appeared as Laura West on ‘The Upper Hand’. In 2003, Blackman took a guest role on ‘Midsomer Murders’, as ex-racing driver Isobel Hewitt in the episode "A Talent for Life". In September 2004, she briefly joined the ‘Coronation Street’ cast in a storyline about wife swapping. In 2007, she participated in the BBC TV project, ‘The Verdict’. In 2013 Honor guest-starred in the BBC medical drama ‘Casualty’ and in ‘By Any Means’.
Blackman's recording with Patrick Macnee of "Kinky Boots" (1964), was a surprise hit. In 1990 it peaked at No.5 after being played incessantly by BBC Radio 1 breakfast show presenter Simon Mayo. After her appearance in Goldfinger, she recorded a full album of songs, entitled Everything I've Got. In 1983, Blackman sang as Juno in a special TV production of Jacques Offenbach's ‘Orpheus in the Underworld’. On 6 July 2009, Blackman released a new single, "The Star Who Fell from Grace", composed by Jeff Chegwin and Adrian Munsey. In it she compared a James Bond prom as part of the "Welsh Proms" concert series.
Blackman married twice: Bill Sankey from 1948–56. After their divorce, she married British actor Maurice Kaufmann [1927-1997] (1961–75). They appeared together in the slasher film Fright (1971). They adopted two children, Lottie (1967) and Barnaby (1968).
Blackman has not remarried and has stated she prefers being single. She enjoys watching football. She declined a CBE honor in 2002.
BLACKMAN, Honor [8/22/1925, Plaistow, Newham, London, England, U.K. - ] – stage, TV, voice actress, married to William ‘Bill’ E. Sankey (1948-1956), actor Maurice Kaufmann [1927-1997] (1961-1975), mother of adopted children Lottie Kaufmann [1967- ], Barnaby Kaufmann [1968- ]
Shalako - 1968 (Lady Julia Dagget)
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