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007 has been an agent in the Secret Intelligence Service, aka MI6, for decades now. In that time we’ve seen various iterations of James Bond come and go, we’ve seen villains meet all kinds of ends, and we’ve seen Bond’s compatriots and love interests, the famous Bond girls, change on the big screen. This week, we’re saying goodbye to one of those famous onscreen ladies in real life as well, as Thunderball’s Claudine Auger has passed away at the age of 78.
The actress’ agency, Time Arts, first broke the news, noting she had passed away after battling a long illness (via BBC). Her second husband, Peter Brent, passed away in 2008. They had one daughter together, Jessica, who was born in 1991.
The French actress spent nearly 40 years in the business, starting with a 1958 role in Christine and followed up by a slew of French movies as well as some projects that made it over onto this side of the pond.
It was in 1965 that she landed the role of a Bond Girl in that year’s Thunderball, starring opposite Sean Connery, who was playing 007 at the time. Her character, Domino, was memorable both as the first French actress to portray a Bond girl, and also as an onscreen femme fatale who is the mistress to bad guy Largo before falling for Bond. Her character's stylish clothes in the film were also a highlight for many viewers, as she largely dressed in black and white throughout as a nod to her name.
The part was initially expected to go to an Italian actress but was subsequently rewritten for Claudine Auger. Later, the Bond franchise would expand to include a few more famous French names. Eva Green comes to mind, as does Sophie Marceau, Lea Seydoux and Carole Bouquet.
Following the success of Thunderball, Auger focused mostly on growing her movie career in Europe. She starred in a slew of projects including the Italian comedy Anyone Can Play and the French comedy The Killing Game. She still took the occasional part in The United States, however, most notably alongside Bing Crosby in The Road To Lebanon. Her last movie role came in 1997 when she starred in a televised French Film called The Red and The Black.
In addition to her acting work, the Thunderball actress was also an accomplished model and represented at the Miss World pageant in 1958 after winning Miss Cinemonde in 1957.
CinemaBlend’s own thoughts go out to Claudine Auger’s friends and family during this difficult time.