Eunice Gayson

Eunice Gayson
Born Eunice Sargaison
(1928-03-17)17 March 1928
Streatham, London, England
Died 8 June 2018(2018-06-08) (aged 90)
London, England
Years active 1948–2018
Notable cr(s) Bond girl Sylvia Trench in Dr. No and From Russia with Love
Spouse(s) Leigh Vance
(m. 1953; div. 1959)
Brian Jackson
(m. 1968; div. 1977)

Eunice Gayson (born Eunice Sargaison;[1] 17 March 1928 – 8 June 2018) was an English actress best known for playing Sylvia Trench, James Bond's love interest in the first two Bond films (Dr. No and From Russia with Love) and is therefore considered to have been the first-ever "Bond girl".

Early life[]

Gayson was born on 17 March 1928 in Streatham, London, to John and Maria Sargaison (née Gammon). Her father was a civil servant. The family moved to Purley, Surrey and later Glasgow, before settling in Edinburgh. There she attended the Edinburgh Academy and studied operatic singing.[2]

Career[]

Gayson played a major role in the Hammer horror film The Revenge of Frankenstein and appeared on television in series such as The Saint (which starred a future James Bond, Roger Moore) and The Avengers.[3] She played the Baroness Elsa Schraeder in the 1962 London production of The Sound of Music, during which time she also filmed scenes for the first two Bond films, Dr. No (1962) and From Russia with Love (1963).[4] She remained a regular in London theatre, appearing in, among other productions, the comedy The Grass Is Greener (1971). In the early 1990s, Gayson appeared in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods in the role of the grandmother.[2]

Bond films[]

In the first two James Bond films, Dr. No and From Russia with Love, Gayson played James Bond's love interest in London, Sylvia Trench. In early scenes, Bond attempts to set up a liaison with her, but gets called away on a mission before anything serious can develop. This was intended to be a running motif in multiple films, but the character was dropped after the second film.[2] The character is responsible for Bond's iconic introductory catchphrase; when Trench introduces herself to Bond as "Trench, Sylvia Trench" during a game of baccarat in Dr. No, Bond replies in kind, mimicking Trench's own cadence.[3]

Gayson had initially been cast in Dr. No as Miss Moneypenny, the secretary of Bond's boss, who often flirted with Bond, while the actress who played Moneypenny, Lois Maxwell, had been cast as Sylvia Trench. However, Maxwell found the Trench character too immodest, and their roles were switched. Gayson's voice was overdubbed by Nikki van der Zyl, who also dubbed most of the other female characters' voices in both films.[2] Gayson is therefore considered the first "Bond girl".[5][6]

Personal life[]

Gayson married the writer Leigh Vance in 1953, a marriage which featured as part of the television show Bride and Groom. They divorced in 1959, and in 1968 she married the film and stage actor Brian Jackson. She and Jackson had a daughter before getting a divorce after a decade of marriage. Their daughter Kate would later appear in the casino scene in the 1995 Bond film GoldenEye.[7] Gayson died on 8 June 2018, aged 90.[2]

Filmography[]

Year Title Role Notes
1948 My Brother Jonathan A Young Girl[8]
1948 It Happened in Soho Julie
1949 The Huggetts Abroad Peggy Uncred
1949 Melody in the Dark Pat Evans
1950 Dance Hall Mona
1951 To Have and to Hold Peggy
1952 Down Among the Z Men Officer's Wife Uncred
1952 Miss Robin Hood Pam
1953 Street Corner Janet Uncred
1954 Dance, Little Lady Adele
1954 One Just Man
1955 Out of the Clouds Penny Henson
1956 The Last Man to Hang? Elizabeth Anders
1956 Zarak Cathy Ingram
1957 Carry on Admiral Jane Godfrey
1957 Light Fingers Rose Levenham
1958 The Revenge of Frankenstein Margaret
1958 Hello London Herself Documentary
1962 Dr. No Sylvia Trench
1963 From Russia with Love

References[]

  1. ^ "Eunice Gayson, 90". Classic Images (518): 45. August 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Hadoke, Toby (9 June 2018). "Eunice Gayson obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2018. 
  3. ^ a b "First Bond girl Eunice Gayson dies aged 90". Sky News. 9 June 2018. Retrieved 10 June 2018. 
  4. ^ Nyren, Erin (9 June 2018). "Eunice Gayson, First 'Bond' Girl, Dies at 90". Variety. Retrieved 10 June 2018. 
  5. ^ Masters, Tim (1 October 2012). "James Bond: How Dr No's Eunice Gayson made film history". BBC News. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Hendry, Steve (16 September 2012). "First Bond girl Eunice Gayson reveals how she helped Sean Connery overcome nerves with stiff drink". Daily Record. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  7. ^ Holson, Laura M. (11 June 2018). "Eunice Gayson, the First Bond Girl, Dies at 90". New York Times. Retrieved 12 June 2018. 
  8. ^ "Eunice Gayson filmography". TVGuide. Retrieved 10 June 2018. 

External links[]