Lois 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.