Eunice Gayson, who became the first official “Bond girl” when she played the role of Sylvia Trench in the 1962 film, Dr. No, died on Friday at the age of 90.
According to a report from BBC News, news of Gayson’s passing was announced by James Bond series producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, who issued a brief statement recapping the actress’ claim to fame in the series. No cause of death has been reported as of this writing.
“We are so sad to learn that Eunice Gayson, our very first ‘Bond girl’, who played Sylvia Trench in Dr. No and From Russia With Love, has passed away. Our sincere thoughts are with her family.”
While Gayson’s name might not be familiar to many of today’s film fans, BBC News noted that the veteran actress’ mostly unsung legacy was created when she helped Sean Connery, who played James Bond from 1962 to 1971, and again for one film in 1983, come up with the most iconic catchphrases in cinema history. In 2012, Gayson looked back on how Connery had difficulty saying the line that would become “Bond, James Bond,” as he frequently mixed up his character’s name with that of his own.
“I’d known Sean for years and I’d never seen him so nervous as he was on that day because of all these delays,” Gayson recalled, as quoted by The Guardian.
“He had to say Bond, James Bond, but he came out with other permutations like Sean Bond, James Connery. ‘Cut! Cut! Cut!'”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) June 9, 2018
With Connery struggling to deliver his line correctly, Dr. No director Terence Young asked Gayson to take her co-star out for a drink, which, as pointed out by BBC News, was just what Connery needed to perfect the line that would soon become synonymous with the entire James Bond franchise.
According to The Guardian, Eunice Gayson appeared in a number of movies and TV series in the 1950s, including the 1958 film, The Revenge of Frankenstein, and The Avengers, before making history as the first Bond girl. She appeared as Sylvia Trench in two James Bond films, Dr. No and From Russia With Love, but in both films, had her lines re-recorded by voiceover artist Nikki van der Zyl, much like most other Bond girls from the 1960s and 1970s. Gayson was also supposed to be cast as James Bond’s secretary, Miss Moneypenny, but lost out to Lois Maxwell, who reprised that role in multiple Bond films from 1962 to 1985.