Lois Maxwell, the Canadian-born actress who was to many fans the definitive Miss Moneypenny in James Bond films, has died in Western Australia at age 80, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported Sunday.
It said 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,” had died in Fremantle Hospital. She had been suffering from cancer.
In the Bond films Moneypenny as secretary to Bond’s chief M 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 sexual edge that is missing in Ian Fleming’s novels.
While officially her character’s first name is Jane, Moneypenny is only ever referred to by her last name or a diminutive of it — Penny.
Definitive roleBorn in Kitchener, Ontario, in February 1927, Maxwell won a Golden Globe award as Most Promising Female Newcomer in 1948 for her performance in the Shirley Temple comedy “That Hagen Girl.”
Although she appeared in many other films and television series and wrote a popular newspaper column for years, Maxwell was best known for her Moneypenny role.
She became close friends with Roger Moore, who succeeded Sean Connery as Bond in 1973 and played the character in seven films.
“She was a very fine actress and had a great sense of humor,” Moore told BBC television. “It was a great disappointment to her that she had not been promoted to play M. She would have been a wonderful M.”