The official James Bond Twitter account announced her death on Sunday. “We are very sorry to hear that Tania Mallet who played Tilly Masterson in ‘Goldfinger’ has passed away,” the tweet reads. “Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”
Mallet was a first cousin to actress Helen Mirren. She was born in Blackpool, England, to British father Henry Mallet and Russian mother Olga Mironoff, a sibling of Mirren’s father.
Mallet was working as a model when she was cast as Masterson by producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli. She had previously auditioned for the role of Tatiana Romanova in 1963’s “From Russia With Love,” but lost the part to Daniela Bianchi.
In “Goldfinger,” Mallet’s character portrayed the sister of Shirley Eaton’s Jill Masterson, who betrays the villain Auric Goldfinger and is killed by him through “skin suffocation” after being completely painted in gold paint. Masterson, bent on avenging her sister’s death, is subsequently killed in the movie by Goldfinger’s servant, Oddjob (played by Harold Sakata), who throws a steel-rimmed hat at her.
Mallet told the James Bond fan site MI6 in 2003 that she had always been “more comfortable” in a small studio with “just a photographer and his assistant.”
“The restrictions placed on me for the duration of the filming grated, were dreadful, and I could not anticipate living my life like that,” she added.
Mirren said in her 2007 memoir, “In the Frame: My Life in Words and Pictures,” that Mallet was a “loyal and generous person” who helped pay for for her brothers’ education with her income as a model.