Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Nobody does it better...

...and in this instance, I'm referring to Lois Maxwell, aka Miss Moneypenny. I'm off to see the new James Bond film tonight (at the new-ish Alameda cineplex) and for some reason wanted to find out what became of Miss Moneypenny.

Fascinating woman, Lois Maxwell: Canadian, and ran away from home at 15 to join the entertainment corps of the army during WWII -- lying about her age, of course -- and went off to England. When she was found out they were going to deport her back home but she talked her way into the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts. One of her classmates was none other than Roger Moore.

She also talked her way into the Moneypenny role because she needed the work after her husband had a major heart attack.

She was in 14 Bond movies but on screen for less than 30 minutes. Still, in that 30 minutes, she managed to make an indelible impression, at least for me. She seemed to be the only person who could actually handle James Bond.

After they replaced her for a younger Moneypenny (boo on Broccoli!), she went back to Canada where she wrote a gossipy society column for the Toronto Sun and owned a company that made crowd barriers. Then she went to live near her son in Australia where she died about a year ago.

Impressive woman, Ms. Maxwell, who certainly seems like someone who could do MI6 work. Her classmate, Roger Moore, said it was a shame they didn't promote her to M. I think that would have been cool.

Incidentally, the other long-term Bond actor, Desmond Llewelyn (aka Q), was a POW for 5 years in France. Interesting people way beyond the Bond movies.

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