RIP Diana Rigg & Honor Blackman

When a new Bond film is released today it is almost expected that whatever actresses have been hired will make comments to the media about how their characters are different from Bond women who have gone before and are somehow unique and radical. And yet, after the dust has settled we can often barely even remember they were in the film. Despite talking a good game, they hardly registered at all. That can't be said of Diana Rigg and Honor Blackman - two actresses who definitely left an enduring mark on the series.
Diana Rigg and Honor Blackman did not blend into the background or deliver a performance that was already forgotten by the time the next Bond film arrived. Tracy di Vicenzo and Pussy Galore are immortal screen characters who more than held their own with James Bond. Rigg and Blackman oozed charisma and both seemed to relish the chance to be in a Bond film. "Before Bond, the parts I used to play in films were demure, sweet, antiseptic and antisex," said Honor Blackman. "I wasn't even allowed to think like a woman. Pussy Galore and 007 worked wonders for me." It is impossible to think of any Bond actress who brought more acting chops to a film in the franchise than Diana Rigg or any actress who brought more presence and personality to a film in the franchise than Honor Blackman.
They both had amazing and long careers too. Diana Rigg was in The Avengers, Theatre of Blood, a million award winning stage productions, films, TV shows. Even near the end of her career she was still successful and still working in great shows like Detectorists and Game of Thrones. Honor Blackman, like Rigg a star of The Avengers, was in literally millions of films. She appeared in Columbo, Doctor Who, Bridget Jones's Diary, horror films, sitcoms, Ray Harryhausen's classic version of Jason and the Argonauts, and far too many other shows and films to mention. And like Diana Rigg she was working right to the end. Blackman must have been pushing 90 when she was in the film Cockneys vs Zombies and yet, as ever, she looked decades younger than her true age.
However long the Bond series lasts (and I hope it lasts forever), it is highly doubtful that it will ever be graced by any actress with a fraction of the charisma of Diana Rigg and Honor Blackman again. These two women really did, to quote Carly Simon, make you feel sad for the rest.
- Jake

c 2020 Alternative 007

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