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Shirley Eaton –


About Shirley Eaton (1937 – )

Shirley Eaton was born on January 12, 1937, in Middlesex, and brought up in the suburb of Kingsbury. She attended Roe Green Primary School, and although she lived near both Kingsbury County Grammar School and Tylers Croft Secondary Modern School, earned a place at the Aida Foster Theatre School, a specialist drama school, where she remained until the age of sixteen. Her stage debut came in Benjamin Britten's Let's Make an Opera!.

Throughout the fifties she was a singing star on theater and television, appearing in variety shows across England and starring at The Prince of Wales Theatre in London in her own solo singing act, as well as in many films. She appeared with many of the top British male comedy stars from the period, including Jimmy Edwards, Max Bygraves, Bob Monkhouse and Arthur Askey. Her female co-stars included Peggy Mount, Thora Hird and Dora Bryan among others. Early roles included Three Men in a Boat (1956) and Date with Disaster (1957), in which she co-starred with Tom Drake. She also worked with the Crazy Gang in Life Is a Circus (1958) and with hardboiled detective writer Mickey Spillane in The Girl Hunters (1963) in which Spillane played his own literary creation Mike Hammer. She also starred in several of the early Carry on films, and can be seen in three episodes of The Saint.

Eaton is best known for her role as Jill Masterson in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, in which she garnered more recognition than even Honor Blackman, who played famed Bond Girl Pussy Galore. After this memorable appearance as a gold-painted corpse, she appeared similarly coated on the cover of Life Magazine. Eaton's character's death by "skin suffocation" actually led to an urban myth that she had died during filming, which eventually culminated in a guest shot in a 2003 episode of MythBusters to debunk the rumor.

After Goldfinger, Eaton made only a few more films, including the 1965 version of the Agatha Christie mystery Ten Little Indians in which she was paired with Hugh O'Brian, a 1967 Bob Hope comedy, Eight on the Lam, plus the spy story The Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967), before her retirement.

Eaton was married to Colin Lenton Rowe from 1957 until his death in 1994. The couple had two children, Grant and Jason. Eaton retired from acting to bring up her family and later observed, in a 1999 interview with Steve Swires of Starlog magazine, "A career is a career, but you're a mother until you die." She repeated the statement in a June 2008 interview with journalist James Davies, adding, "The most important thing for me was being a woman and having a family more than being a very famous glamorous actress."

Eaton published an autobiography in 1999 entitled Golden Girl. Her two new books (Golden Girl Shirley Eaton Her Reflections) a picture book of all her film photos throughout her Career and the second book, (Shirley Eaton Bonds Golden girl her own ART Gallery) feature her painting and sculptures over the course of her life.

Shirley Eaton's movie credits include...

Year Movie Role
1954 Doctor in the House Milly Groaker
1955 The Love Match Rose Brown
1956 Charley Moon Angel Dream
1956 Sailor Beware! Shirley Hornett
1956 Three Men in a Boat Sophie Clutterbuck
1957 Doctor at Large Nan
1957 Date with Disaster Sue
1957 The Naked Truth Melissa Right
1958 Carry On Sergeant Mary Sage
1958 Further Up the Creek Jane
1959 Carry On Nurse Staff Nurse Dorothy Denton
1959 In the Wake of a Stranger Joyce Edwards
1960 Life Is a Circus Shirley Winter
1960 Carry On Constable Sally Barry
1961 Nearly a Nasty Accident Cpl. Jean Briggs
1961 Dentist on the Job Jill Venner
1961 A Weekend with Lulu Deirdre Proudfoot
1961 What a Carve Up! Linda Dickson
1962 Our Man in the Caribbean Lee
1963 The Girl Hunters Laura Knapp
1964 Rhino! Miss Arleigh
1964 Goldfinger Jill Masterson
1965 The Naked Brigade Diana Forsythe
1965 Ten Little Indians Ann Clyde
1966 Around the World Under the Sea Dr. Margaret E. 'Maggie' Hanford
1967 Eight on the Lam Ellie Barton
1967 The Million Eyes of Sumuru Sumuru
1968 The Blood of Fu Manchu Black Widow
1969 The Seven Secrets of Sumuru Sumuru

Shirley Eaton's television credits include...

Year Show/Series Role
1951 Parent-Craft Anne Pebble
1954 And So to Bentley
1962 Man of the World Lee (1 episode)
1962-1968 The Saint Adrienne Halberd/Gloria Uckrose/Reb Denning (3 episodes)

Memorable Quotes

“The reason why people are huge stars is nothing to do with acting. It's the magic. Charisma is a word that's used too often, it's something special and it's what makes stars. It's luck and basically it's genes.”

“I'm very expressive, but I'm also a very private person. It is so hard to be private in the entertainment business. I'm really glad that I was famous and successful at the time I was because it was bad enough then in a profession which tended to eat you up and never give you any free time. But I think that the youngsters today have a really bad time from every angle.”

“[1999, interview in Starlog magazine] A career is a career, but you're a mother until you die.”

“[on Paul Rabiger, her makeup artist on Goldfinger (1964)] He was as impersonal about gilding me as if he was painting a barn.”

Did You Know

Appeared on the stage at London's Price of Wales Theatre as one of the lead roles in "Come Blow Your Horn" while busily filming The Girl Hunters (1963). The film's co-star, Mickey Spillane, became a family friend as a result of the shoot.

She had appeared at the London Palladium three times, once when she was 17 and performing in a pantomime, and then in the early 1960s at two annual Royal Variety Performance galas that included Nat 'King' Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Bob Hope and Maurice Chevalier. When in 2008 she appeared again, this time to celebrate the new James Bond film phenomenon, she received a standing ovation.

Possibly most recognized because of her role in Goldfinger (1964), her character was killed only 16 minutes into the movie.

Has appeared in both the 'Carry on' Franchise and the 'James Bond 007' Franchise. Both franchises are two of the ones with the most installments.

Was doubled in the family's "Golden girl" scene in Goldfinger by model turned actress Margaret Nalan.

Shirley Eaton in Nearly a Nasty Accident (1961).
Eaton with Bob Hope in Eight on the Lam (1967).
eaton-actor shirley-eaton
The epitome of glamor with Sean Connery in Goldfinger (1964).
Eaton with Hugh O'Brian in Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians (1965).
As the egomaniacal nymph in The Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967).
In the field in Rhino! (1964).
Eaton in The Naked Truth (1957).
Shirley in The Saint (1962-68).
Shirley Eaton in What a Carve Up! (1961).