Sunday, September 30, 2007

G'day Ms. Hooker

Okay, so you've never have heard of her by that name. Heck, I'm sure you didn't know her by her real name.

If you grew up as a male in the 60s through early 80s you do know what this character's name is; Miss Moneypenny. Yes, the double-entendre spewing administrative assistant of the big boss in James Bond movies. God bless her soul she passed away quietly due to cancer in Australia, her final homeland.

I grew up reading Bond books, that is books by Ian Fleming. I didn't see the movies because well, TV sucked in the 60s and 70s in the UP so I didn't see a Bond movie until, well, I no longer cared. By then I'd moved on to John le Carre' instead. Less sex, but far more intrigue. Yet, I always remembered the character of Moneypenny as she was referred. And always impressed with the early films with Connery, Lazenby, and Moore that had the exact same Moneypenny. I liked that loyalty. Loyalty is a big deal in my life. I don't know why or how, but it means something to me.

She was born some 80 years ago in Kitchener, Ontario as Lois Hooker. During WWII she fled home at 15, lied about her age, and joined the Royal Canadian Army to get away from her rural home life. She was a part of the Canadian Academy Entertainment Corp in England until her age was discovered. From there she managed to gain entrance to the Royal Academy of Arts in England where she made friends with Roger Moore whom she'd eventually share the screen with in seven Bond pictures. They remained lifelong friends to the end. She began her movie career in
A Matter of Life and Death and soon won a Golden Globe for her acting in That Hagen Girl in 1947 and retired from films in 1989 when the Bond movies no longer came calling.

Lois Maxwell as her stage name, she was in many films in Hollywood including Stanley Kubrick's
Lolita in 1962 which was followed by her fourteen picture stint as Miss Moneypenny starting with Dr. No in 1962. She was the perfect foil for the Bond character. Always exact, a little matronly, but yet with just the right touch of smitten for that dashing agent. The most recent Bond film with its new star Daniel Craig was the first Bond picture without a Moneypenny character. The succession of actors that tried to fill the character during the Dalton years, didn't warm anyone's hearts like Lois did.

Some of us are great by birth, some of us have greatness thrust upon us. Others don't achieve anything truly lasting. Lois was content to accept a character that I think is lasting and although small will be a legacy anyone should be proud of. Its sad that at least one Bond character never took her out for one long night on the town or more. She'd deserved that much. Rest well, Lois, you've earned it.