Eunice Gayson (17 March 1928 – 8 June 2018) was an English actress best known for playing Sylvia Trench, James Bond's love interest in the first two Bond films (Dr. No and From Russia with Love), and is therefore considered to have been the first-ever "Bond girl".
17 March 1928|
Streatham, London, England
8 June 2018 (aged 90)|
|Notable credit(s)||Bond girl Sylvia Trench in Dr. No and From Russia with Love|
Leigh Vance |
(m. 1953; div. 1959)
(m. 1968; div. 1977)
Gayson was born on 17 March 1928 in Streatham, London, to John and Maria Sargaison (née Gammon). Her father was a civil servant. The family moved to Purley, Surrey, and later Glasgow, before settling in Edinburgh. There she attended the Edinburgh Academy and studied operatic singing.
Gayson played a major role in the Hammer horror film The Revenge of Frankenstein and appeared on television in series such as The Saint (which starred a future James Bond, Roger Moore) and The Avengers. She played the Baroness Elsa Schraeder in the 1962 London production of The Sound of Music, during which time she also filmed scenes for the first two Bond films, Dr. No (1962) and From Russia with Love (1963). She remained a regular in London theatre, appearing in, among other productions, the comedy The Grass Is Greener (1971). In the early 1990s, Gayson appeared in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods in the role of the grandmother.
In the first two James Bond films, Dr. No and From Russia with Love, Gayson played James Bond's love interest in London, Sylvia Trench. In early scenes, Bond attempts to set up a liaison with her, but gets called away on a mission before anything serious can develop. This was intended to be a running motif in multiple films, but the character was dropped after the second film. The character is responsible for Bond's iconic introductory catchphrase; when Trench introduces herself to Bond as "Trench, Sylvia Trench" during a game of baccarat in Dr. No, Bond replies in kind, mimicking Trench's own cadence.
Gayson had initially been cast in Dr. No as Miss Moneypenny, the secretary of Bond's boss, who often flirted with Bond, while the actress who played Moneypenny, Lois Maxwell, had been cast as Sylvia Trench. However, Maxwell found the Trench character too immodest, and their roles were switched. Gayson's voice was overdubbed by Nikki van der Zyl, who also dubbed most of the other female characters' voices in both films. Gayson is therefore considered the first "Bond girl".
Gayson married the writer Leigh Vance in 1953, a marriage which featured as part of the television show Bride and Groom. They divorced in 1959, and in 1968 she married the film and stage actor Brian Jackson. She and Jackson had a daughter before getting a divorce after a decade of marriage. Their daughter Kate would later appear in the casino scene in the 1995 Bond film GoldenEye. Gayson died on 8 June 2018, aged 90.
|1948||My Brother Jonathan||A Young Girl|
|1948||It Happened in Soho||Julie|
|1949||The Huggetts Abroad||Peggy||Uncredited|
|1949||Melody in the Dark||Pat Evans|
|1951||To Have and to Hold||Peggy|
|1952||Down Among the Z Men||Officer's Wife||Uncredited|
|1952||Miss Robin Hood||Pam|
|1954||Dance, Little Lady||Adele|
|1954||One Just Man|
|1955||Out of the Clouds||Penny Henson|
|1956||The Last Man to Hang?||Elizabeth Anders|
|1957||Carry on Admiral||Jane Godfrey|
|1957||Light Fingers||Rose Levenham|
|1958||The Revenge of Frankenstein||Margaret|
|1962||Dr. No||Sylvia Trench|
|1963||From Russia with Love|
- Hadoke, Toby (9 June 2018). "Eunice Gayson obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
- "First Bond girl Eunice Gayson dies aged 90". Sky News. 9 June 2018. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
- Nyren, Erin (9 June 2018). "Eunice Gayson, First 'Bond' Girl, Dies at 90". Variety. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
- Masters, Tim (1 October 2012). "James Bond: How Dr No's Eunice Gayson made film history". BBC News. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
- Hendry, Steve (16 September 2012). "First Bond girl Eunice Gayson reveals how she helped Sean Connery overcome nerves with stiff drink". Daily Record. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
- Holson, Laura M. (11 June 2018). "Eunice Gayson, the First Bond Girl, Dies at 90". New York Times. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
- "Eunice Gayson filmography". TVGuide. Retrieved 10 June 2018.