Lois Maxwell has died. The parentheses of our eras appear unexpectedly and sometimes painfully. Of the original James Bond cast, who’s left? Connery, I believe. Bernard Lee is gone, as is Desmond Llewelyn, even most of the villains. I believe all the Bond Girls (of which Lois was often exempted) are still alive. Certain things, certain losses, just bother me more than others.
Lois was never seen in a Bond film in a bikini, an evening gown, or anything other than her office attire, and the scene at the end of On Her Majestie’s Secret Service is almost heartbreaking when Moneypenny has to wish Bond and his new bride happiness. At least they did not continue this unfair trope when Samantha Bond took over the part— Moneypenny had a private life, presumably with sex, and gave innuendo for innuendo in her repartee with 007.
She was 80, which is a good long life, but it reminds me how old I am. I saw Dr. No as a first-run release with my parents. I was not old enough to understand any of the sexual tension going on, but I did come of age with James Bond. That could have been disastrous for me if not for the equally important presence of Emma Peel in The Avengers who I credit with providing me a solid feminist notion, if not philosophy.
The new Bond, Daniel Craig, is very different. In fact, he is very much closer to Ian Fleming’s conception than even Sean Connery. Casino Royale had no Moneypenny. It will be interesting to see what they do in future films, now that they had apparently decided to hue closer to the original character.
But I shall miss Miss Moneypenny. She waited valiantly, provided moral support, and was often unfairly left out of most of the fun.