James Bond's 'Moneypenny' Dies at 80
Lois Maxwell died in Australia
Maxwell, the demure foil to Bond's suave rake in 14 films from 1962's "Dr. No" to 1985's "A View to a Kill," died Saturday night at Fremantle Hospital, near her home in Perth, Australia. She had been battling cancer.
In the Bond films, Moneypenny, as secretary to Bond's chief M in British intelligence, has a flirtatious relationship with the spy, evidently attracted to him but never succumbing to his advances. It was a role to which Maxwell gave a bantering edge that is missing in Ian Fleming's novels.
Although officially her character's first name is Jane, Moneypenny is referred to only by her last name or a diminutive of it -- Penny.
"Moneypenny was down to earth and charming," Maxwell told a Canadian newspaper reporter in 2001. "Everyone hoped James Bond would end up with her because all the other women were so two-dimensional. She was real."
Maxwell became close friends with Roger Moore, who succeeded Sean Connery as Bond in 1973.
"She was a very fine actress and had a great sense of humor," Moore told BBC television Sunday.
Born Lois Hooker in Kitchener, Canada, in February 1927 to a nurse and a teacher, she was reared in Toronto. She began acting on radio before moving to Britain with the Canadian Army Show as a teenager.
She enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, where she met Moore, a fellow student. In the late 1940s, having changed her last name to Maxwell, she moved to Hollywood and won a Golden Globe as most promising female newcomer for her part in the Shirley Temple comedy "That Hagen Girl."
After working in movies in Italy, she returned to Britain in the mid-1950s, where she met her husband, entertainment executive Peter Marriott.
She appeared in Stanley Kubrick's "Lolita" in 1962 and on TV shows, including "The Saint," "The Baron," "Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)" and "The Persuaders!"
She was 58 when she appeared in her final Bond film, 1985's "A View to a Kill." She was replaced by 26-year-old Caroline Bliss in "The Living Daylights" in 1987.
Asked to choose her favorite James Bond actor, she usually answered Connery, because, she said, "he wasn't replacing anyone, so he made it his own." But she also said she had the most fun working with Moore.
As Miss Moneypenny, Maxwell appeared in more James Bond films than any of the actors who played the lead role. Desmond Llewelyn, who played Q, the gadget man, appeared in the most Bond films, at 17.
"Miss Moneypenny was the smallest part I've ever played," Maxwell said in a 2003 interview. "And I did it when my children were very young and my husband was very sick and I was very poor."
As Moore told the BBC on Sunday: "I'm afraid she got sort of typecast as Miss Moneypenny. That's what producers do, unfortunately; they put people in categories, they don't seem to move people out of them."
In between acting roles and to make ends meet after her husband died of a heart attack at age 51 in 1973, Maxwell wrote a popular column for the Toronto Sun newspaper from 1979 to 1994.
Her last film was the 2001 thriller "The Fourth Angel," with Jeremy Irons.
She moved to Australia in 2002, after being diagnosed with cancer, to be closer to her son, Christian. He and her daughter, Melinda, survive her.