39 years since "Goldfinger" first hit cinema
screens, MI6 catches up with Tania Mallet who played
Tilly Masterson in the epic Bond adventure...
Tania Mallet Interview
21st September 2003
Tania Mallet made the big jump from being one of the 60's most
famous models into an acting role with one of the most famous
characters of the 60's - James Bond. 39 years after Goldfinger's
release, MI6 caught up with her to talk about her time as
Tilly Masterson - the one that
How did you land your role as Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger?
I landed the role as Tilly Masterson in "Goldfinger" after
someone sent a photo of me to Cubby Broccoli. I believe it was
a picture taken by Henry Clark for Vogue and show’s me
lying on some rocks in a bikini.
As one of Britain's most famous models at the time,
was it difficult making the transition from modeling
to acting for the big screen?
It is always very difficult for models to make the transition form photo stills
to moving pictures. The better the model the harder the transition, don’t
ask me why! Many girls have tried but very few have succeeded. Lauren Hutton
is the only one from my generation that as made it. Even Maud Adams was a far
better model than actress although you could say that she ‘made it’ in
films notably as the only Bond girl to appear twice.
What was it like working with Sean Connery?
Sean was wonderful to work with a complete professional, humorous, polite and
above all remarkably generous to work with.
What are your most cherished memories from the production?
have many memories as you can imagine, but one of the best was
on my first day at Pinewood when I had no idea where I was
going let alone what I was meant to be doing - when I bumped
into Shirley Eaton and she said “Hi, sis!” It was
so friendly and reassuring, from that point I knew everything
would be ok.
||Goldfinger was your first and last big screen appearance.
After making such an impressive high-profile debut, was
it a difficult decision to turn down film offers and focus
solely on your modeling career?
It was not difficult to go back to modeling. Filming had
been an interesting experience but I was always more comfortable
in a small studio with just the photographer and his assistant.
Besides which, the restrictions placed on me for the duration
of the filming grated, were dreadful and I could not anticipate
living my life like that. For instance being forbidden to ride
in case I had an accident not being allowed to go abroad etc...
Apart from that the money was dreadful - originally I was offered £50
per week which I managed to push up to £150, but even
so I earned more than that in a day modeling so the six months
I worked (or was retained to work) on Goldfinger were real
Your character Tania was the first really strong female
character to appear on screen with Bond. Do you feel the "Bond
have evolved over the past 40 years, or have always had the
same qualities as the classic 60's films?
I don’t think any of the Bond girls have ever been a push
over so I don’t consider I did much more than follow on
in the movie. I was however the one that got away….
The mid 1960's saw the height of "Bond fever" with
Goldfinger and Thunderball. What was it like to be involved with
such a high profile series at that time? What was the publicity
and media frenzy like?
To be honest I was not much affected by
the media frenzy. I was already well used to photographers pointing
at me and anyway it was all much more civilized in those days.
The tacit understanding was that unless you actively sought publicity
by going to premiers etc.. you were left alone.
Even the public failed too see Tilly Masterson unless I wanted
them to by removing my dark glasses and curls - the uniform for
busy models in the sixties.
How were you involved in the Bond series?
I played Tilly Masterson in "Goldfinger"
What was your first ever Bond experience?
My first Bond
Experience along with millions of others was seeing “Dr.
What did you think of the last film, "Die Another
I have loved all the Bond films and “Die Another
Day” is no exception they just get better.
What is your favourite Bond film?
I love all the Bond
films and could not pick a favourite.
Who is your favourite Bond?
Of course Sean is my favourite
Bond but Pierce Brosnan is a pretty close second.
Which Bond girl should come back?
I don’t think any Bond girl should come back -
they should all be different that’s part of the
What is your favourite Bond moment from the series?
favourite Bond moment is from Goldfinger when Bond is
strapped down to the table when a laser advancing
towards him between his spread open legs and he turns
to Goldfinger and says:
Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Goldfinger: No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!
It is probably
the only time you will see Bond genuinely scared and it
is quite unforgettable.
Thanks to Tania Mallet.
Masterson (Tania Mallet) - Bond Girls