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Prospective James Bond girls beware: bedding 007 is a deadly affair

25-Mar-2009 • Literary

Women! Are you thinking of having a relationship with James Bond? Think! Almost a third of Bond’s sexual partners have died since the British superspy began his adventures, and the death toll is rising sharply - reports The Times.

Research conducted by The Times for the 50th anniversary of the publication of Goldfinger, which featured one of the most outlandish deaths — suffocation by gold paint — shows that it has become increasingly perilous for women to tangle with agent 007.

The murder of Jill Masterson in Goldfinger, the third Bond film in 1964, set a precedent that has resulted in 16 of Bond’s 51 lovers coming to a grisly end. In Dr No and From Russia with Love, all four lovers escaped with their lives, but Sean Connery’s Bond became increasingly toxic. In Thunderball and You Only Live Twice two women were killed in assassination attempts aimed at the spy and one was eaten by piranhas.

Connery emerges as only the fourth-most dangerous lover, however. George Lazenby’s lone film in the series, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, saw him cause the death of one of his three lovers. Teresa Di Vicenzo, played by Diana Rigg, made the mistake of marrying Bond, resulting in her death in a drive-by shooting.

Roger Moore’s Bond was a comparatively safe partner, with only 28 per cent of the women who slept with him dying, although this is chiefly to do with the sheer number of women involved — 18, including four in his last film. Five died, usually painfully, culminating in the spectacular departure of Grace Jones’s May Day astride a bomb on a minecart.

A brief calm ensued with Timothy Dalton, whose partners in The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill survived. Pierce Brosnan continued the trend in Goldeneye, but the peace was not to last. He caused the deaths of one lover in each of his next three films.

Most deadly of all, however, is Daniel Craig, who has been a harbinger of doom for all of his sexual partners. His first lover, Solange, is dead by the end of the first act of Casino Royale, and Vesper Lynd drowns. In the latest film, Quantum of Solace, Bond’s only lover is found covered in crude oil — a homage to Jill Masterson’s demise in Goldfinger. Olga Kurylenko, Bond’s ally in Quantum of Solace, was considered controversial when the film came out because she did not sleep with Bond. Perhaps this is what saved her.

The only other way of raising the chances of survival appears to be a suggestive name. Pussy Galore, played by Honor Blackman, survived to the closing credits of Goldfinger, while Kissy Suzuki is better at avoiding piranhas and poisoning than Helga Brandt and Aki in You Only Live Twice. But silly names ceased to be protective in Quantum of Solace when Strawberry Fields was murdered.

The occupational hazards of being Bond’s paramour coincide with the discovery of a missing screenplay for a thriller by Ian Fleming. The Diamond Smugglers, based on Fleming’s non-fiction story of a secret agency created to thwart illegal trade in precious stones, is the only complete, legitimate but unfilmed screenplay of the author’s work known to exist. Written in 1964 by Jon Cleary, an Australian writer, its hero is Roy O’Brien, an intelligence agent.

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