Lois Maxwell, Actress: 1927-2007

Lois Maxwell and Sean ConneryLois Maxwell has died in Australia at age 80. She was suffering from cancer. Though she appeared in over 50 films, it is the role of Miss Moneypenny in the long-running James Bond franchise for which she’ll be remembered to movie fans. The men who played Bond would come and go, but for over 20 years Miss Moneypenny remained the same. Maxwell played the flirtatious but stalwart secretary to the head of MI6 in 14 films from 1962’s Dr. No to 1985’s A View to a Kill. Desmond Llewelyn would ultimately appear in more films (17), but he didn’t make his first appearance as ‘Q’ until From Russia with Love in 1963. Maxwell was there from the beginning.

Unlike a typical Bond girl, Moneypenny never shared a bed with the handsome spy. In fact, until A View to a Kill she was barely shown outside of the office, but to fans she was a necessary ingredient and an icon to the franchise. You counted on the scene where James would enter M’s outer office, toss his hat onto the hat rack and sit on the corner of Miss Moneypenny’s desk with a few moments of flirtatious banter before being summoned in to see the stern boss.

In 1987, Maxwell was replaced with a younger actress, but it never felt right. Fans can argue about who was the best James Bond, but really there was only one Miss Moneypenny.

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2 thoughts on “Lois Maxwell, Actress: 1927-2007

  1. It’s telling that the only Sean Connery impression I’ve ever been able to do any justice to whatsoever is him slurring out the words “Mish Money-penny”. OK, that and Darrel Hammond’s “I’ll take The-Rapists for 500, Trebeck.”

    One of my biggest disappointments with the Bond franchise as a teen was when the original Moneypenny was replaced by some fembot model. Hell, I don’t even think they gave her any lines. It was a sign that they had not only given up on the franchise’s remaining winning aspects, but that they were flailing to come up with something fresh to save it. Sad.

    It’s too bad they couldn’t find some way to have cast her in some small part of the revamped Casino Royale, maybe as Eva Green’s mother or something. The original Moneypenny belongs in this new version of the franchise.

  2. I think one of the keys to the enduring success of the franchise is that they’ve never been afraid to do whatever it takes to remain relevant. It’s bad for the purists, but the franchise didn’t become the biggest money maker ever just by catering to the Bond nerds like me.

    I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying.

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