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Pamela Salem (1944-2024)

22nd February 2024

The Never Say Never Again actress has died aged 80

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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Born on January 22nd, 1944 in Bombay, India, Pamela Fortunee Salem moved with her British parents to England where she grew up. She then studied at Heidelberg University in Germany and then at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Her acting career began on stage at theaters in Chesterfield and York. "I wanted to be an actress from the year dot and I remember the first acting I ever did was in 'The Teddy Bears Picnic' at the age of two," she recalled in a 1988 interview.

Her small screen break came with ATV for a role in an episode of their one-hour drama series 'Happy Ever After.' TV guest roles would continue through the 1970s on shows such as 'The Onedin Line' (1971), 'New Scotland Yard' (1973)', 'Van de Valk' (1977), 'Doctor Who' (1977), 'Blake's 7' (1978), and 'The Professionals' (1978). She was a finalist for the role of Leela, the companion to Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor, but lost out to Louise Jameson.

She landed a role opposite Sean Connery in his 1978 period heist movie 'The Great Train Robbery.'  More television work continued in the 1980s until Connery called her back for his rogue James Bond adventure which Kevin McClory had lured him to play 007 one more time with his 'Thunderball' remake rights.

Pamela Salem
Pamela Salem with Sean Connery and Barbara Carrera being unveiled to the press as the cast of Never Say Never Again

Salem was cast as Miss Moneypenny, in the shadow of Lois Maxwell who had portrayed the role of M's secretary in all 13 films in the EON series at that time. "I think the reason I was cast was because I had worked with Sean before. I didn't think there was enough of Moneypenny in it, but that's just my opinion! A lot of the film was cut, which I thought was a great shame because the Moneypenny character is a huge favourite with some people."

She secured a lot of TV roles through the rest of the 1980s and 1990s on British shows like 'Howards' Way', 'Ever Decreasing Circles', 'Tripods', 'All Creatures Great and Small'. She also returned to Doctor Who, in the Seventh Doctor serial 'Remembrance of the Daleks' in 1988. Her love of science fiction led her to call Pan Am to reserve two tickets on the wait list for a commercial trip to space.

Pamela Salem
Pamela Salem with Sylvester McCoy in 'Remembrance of the Daleks'

She then moved to Los Angeles and landed appearances on American series including 'Magnum, P.I.', 'Party of Five', 'ER', and 'The West Wing.' Her final work was on the Doctor Who audio dramas with Tom Baker, and the movie 'Down's Revenge' in 2019.

Pamela Salem died on February 22nd, 2024 at the age of 80. She had been married to actor Michael O'Hagan until his death on 1st November, 2017. They lived in Surfside, Florida.

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