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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lois Maxwell, Requiescat in pace.

On screen, Lois Maxwell played the woman James Bond never seduced, Miss Moneypenny. In real life, she was more than his match -- an adventurous traveller, an entertainer, and a flirt to the end.

Her death on Saturday at Fremantle Hospital, in Western Australia, from a combination of lung and vascular disease, followed several weeks of treatment there. She was 80.

The Canadian-born actress, a constant in 14 James Bond movies as the starring role changed hands, took on the Miss Moneypenny role in 1962 alongside Sean Connery in "Dr No."

And she continued to play the secretary to spy chief M, constantly flirting with her 007 agent, until 1985's "A View To A Kill" with Roger Moore.

In a 2005 interview, Maxwell said she insisted when she took on the role that she be allowed to give Moneypenny a "background" and that Bond director Terence Young not "put my hair in a bun and horn-rimmed glasses on me."

The "background" was an unexplained sexual tension between Moneypenny and Bond and the chemistry worked.

"She was my lucky token," Moore told the British broadcaster Sky News after her death.

"(People) who remember the Bond films with Moneypenny will remember her with great affection. She certainly will be missed by me and I'm sure by millions of fans around the world."

Born Lois Ruth Hooker on February 14, 1927 in Ontario, Canada, Maxwell ran away from home at 16 to join the Canadian Army Show.

She ended up in London, where she met Roger Moore at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, beginning what was to be a life-long friendship.

She changed her name in Hollywood, won a Golden Globe award and worked with Ronald Reagan on "Bedtime For Bonzo."

When the first Bond movie came along, Maxwell was an experienced actor in need of an income after her husband, British television executive Peter Marriott, developed a heart problem.

"I had a husband who was desperately ill, with two small children and no money, so I called producers I had worked with before and said 'help me,'" she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2005.

Maxwell's life was as colourful as that of her screen sweetheart -- she gained her pilot's licence, went on safaris, travelled widely and sailed across the South China Sea on an armed boat in case of pirates.

She was in Fremantle, near the Western Australian capital of Perth, to visit her son and his family five years ago when she collapsed while out shopping as a result of a blood clot on her elbow.

Maxwell required emergency surgery to save her arm and was so relieved at waking up from the operation and finding her limb intact, she became a fundraiser for Fremantle Hospital and a strong supporter of vascular surgeon Professor Paul Norman.

"We used to joke that he became her new leading man. She used to flirt shamelessly with him," former hospital worker and friend to the Maxwell family Penny Young told AFP.

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Young said despite failing health, Maxwell had rallied in recent days.

"The thing about Lois for the family, she was such a strong fighter and in the past she would never give up," she said.

"She had that that attitude of, 'Damn, my heart will continue beating until I'm ready for it to stop.'"

"She was just adorable, and cheeky and fun." [Thanks to AFP for this obituary.]

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About Me

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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