TRIBUTES have been paid to Tania Mallet, the Bond girl actress best-known for her role in Goldfinger, following her death at the age of 77.
The Blackpool-born former model – who played Tilly Masterson in the 1964 spy classic alongside 007 star Sean Connery – passed away on Saturday, the official James Bond Twitter account confirmed last night.
They tweeted: "We are very sorry to hear that Tania Mallet who played Tilly Masterson in GOLDFINGER has passed away.
"Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time."
We are very sorry to hear that Tania Mallet who played Tilly Masterson in GOLDFINGER has passed away. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time. pic.twitter.com/gMkqqheGJ7
— James Bond (@007) 31 March 2019
Ms Mallet began her career as a model aged just 16 in 1957, before scoring her big break in what was the third installment of the iconic James Bond film franchise seven years later at the age of 24.
The Bond girl returned to modelling following the release of the movie, with Goldfinger marking her sole foray into the world of feature film acting.
She once said: "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."
Actress & Model Tania Mallet who played Bond Girl Tilly Masterson in classic James Bond film Goldfinger (1964) dies at 77#riptania #riptaniamallet #Bond25 #JamesBond #news #death pic.twitter.com/rjbJfsJDrK
— AlexCam (@followalexcam) 31 March 2019
Ms Mallet was a first cousin of Dame Helen Mirren through her Russian-born mother, whose younger brother was The Queen actress's father.
One of the most recognisable models of the late 1950s and early 1960s, the British beauty's Goldfinger appearance came after 007 producer Cubby Broccoli saw a publicity shot of her laying on rocks.
She auditioned for the role of Tatiana Romanova in 1963's From Russia With Love, but she ultimately lost out to Italian beauty Daniela Bianchi despite being of Russian descent.
However, she would cement her reputation as an iconic Bond girl just a year later despite her character being offed by the steel-rimmed bowler hat-wielding henchman Oddjob.
In addition to continuing her successful modeling career, she would go on to appear on several talk shows and James Bond specials.
Paying tribute, 007 fans hailed Ms Mallet as "one of the most alluring and razor sharp presences in the Bond universe."
Another sad loss from the world of Bond. British actress Tania Mallet who played Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger has passed away aged 77. I was lucky enough to meet her in 2016 - such a lovely lady. RIP Ms Mallet #taniamallet #jamesbond #goldfinger #bondgirl pic.twitter.com/kV0tBG7Dhj
— Reuben Wakeman (@toysofbond) 31 March 2019
It was announced today that Tania Mallet who played the role of Tilly Masterson in the iconic James Bond film Goldfinger (1964) passed away yesterday at the age of 77. #Bond #JamesBond pic.twitter.com/z3mOW2qLwe
— THUNDERBALLS (@Thunderballs007) 31 March 2019
It is with great sadness that we share the news of Tania Mallet's passing at the age of 77. Her long hand-written letter to us will always be one of our most treasured Bond items. pic.twitter.com/K9BeZgfILl
— James Bond (@jamesbondlive) 31 March 2019