Honor Blackman Archive

Overview

Honor Blackman (1925 - ) was born in Plaistow, Newham, London. She attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama part-time while working as an office clerk in the Home Office. Upon her graduation she understudied in the West End play, The Guinea Pig, stepping in when the lead actress became ill. Two more West End plays and her first film appearance soon followed; a non-speaking part in Fame is the Spur, at Denham Studios.

Joining the Rank Organisation’s stable of talent at Pinewood, Honor appeared in a number of movies including Quartet, So Long at the Fair, A Night to Remember and The Square Peg. Television work began to dominate her career with appearances in episodes of The Vise for the Danziger Brothers, Douglas Fairbanks Jr Presents, The New Adventures of Charlie Chan, African Patrol, The Invisible Man, The Pursuers, Kraft Mystery Theatre and The Saint, opposite Roger Moore, amongst them.

In 1961 she replaced Ian Hendry as Patrick Macnee' partner in The Avengers; Cathy Gale was unlike any character on TV before. She was smart, sexy, intelligent and could hold her own in any fight scenario (she even wrote a book on self defence as a result of the programme). In her leather clad outfit, she became a pin up for full blooded males all over the world and an inspiration to women striving for equality of the sexes. During the second season of the show, Honor released a record with Macnee, entitled Kinky Boots. It was a surprise hit, peaking at number 5 on re-release in 1990 - after being played incessantly by BBC Radio 1 breakfast show presenter Simon Mayo. After 43 episodes of The Avengers Honor decided to move on, and returned to movies with director Guy Hamilton casting her as Pussy Galore in the definitive Bond movie, Goldfinger (1964).

Post-Bond, Honor continued to blend film, TV and stage work. In 1971, Honor and her second husband Maurice Kaufmann both appeared in horror movie Fright (she was previously married to actor Bill Sankey in 1946, but they divorced eight years later). Blackman and Kaufmann divorced in 1975, but remained firm friends. They had two children together, Lottie and Barnarby.

In 1968 Blackman appeared opposite John Neville and Hylda Baker in the musical play Mr & Mrs, based on the plays of Noël Coward. In the late 1970s she toured Australia and New Zealand with Michael Craig and Colleen Clifford in the comedy play Move Over, Mrs Markham. In February 1979, she starred in Stephen Barry's production of Tom Stoppard's Night and Day at the Perth Playhouse. In 1981, she appeared in the London revival of The Sound of Music opposite Petula Clark. The production opened to rave reviews and the largest advance sale in British theatre history to that time. She spent most of 1987 at the Fortune Theatre starring as the Mother Superior in the West End production of Nunsense. Blackman returned to the theatre in 2005, touring through 2006 with a production of My Fair Lady, in which she played Mrs. Higgins. She developed a one-woman show, Word of Honor, which premiered in October 2006. In 2007, Blackman played Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret at the Lyric Theatre in London's West End.

Outside of acting, Honor is involved with the organization Fairtrade, which aims to ensure that third world producers get treated fairly and can make a living from their work. She is a signed supporter of Republic, The Campaign for an Elected Head of State, the UK campaign to replace the monarchy with a republic. Meanwhile, her career continues and Honor is still in huge demand with theatre, voice over and acting work.

What the collection holds

Materials related to Ms Blackman's stage career, The Avengers, and James Bond (Goldfinger). Scripts; Press Cuttings; Programmes; Printed Material; Photographs.

The online catalogue for this collection can be viewed here: 
BTC56 - Honor Blackman Archive

It is currently uncatalogued so please contact us for further information regarding its contents and access.

Further information

Ms Blackman's own website can be seen here.

Honor Blackman, 1947
Honor Blackman as Emma in "Fame is the Spur", 1947 Image credit: University of Bristol Theatre Collection
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