The Many Lives of Miss Moneypenny

Lois Maxwel, the actress who played Miss Moneypenny for most of the James Bond films was also a race car driver, Golden Globe winner, Canadian Army Corps volunteer and classmate of Roger Moore way before she played the famous secretary of MI6 Section Chief M and Bond’s flirtatious admirer on the big screen.

In her early years Maxwell lied about her age to join the Canadian Women Army Corps at age 15. She was stationed in England and Scotland in the Auxiliary Entertainment Unit performing music and dance numbers to entertain the troops. When it was discovered she was underage she was discharged and decided to enroll in the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts were she became friends with fellow student Roger Moore.

Later in Hollywood at the age of 20, she won a Golden Globe Award for New Actress of The Year for her role in the Shirley Temple comedy That Hagen Girl . A couple of years later she posed in Life Magazine with another up and coming actress Marilyn Monroe. Afterwards, most of her work were in B movies and pinup magazines.  Becoming disillusioned with Hollywood, she decided to move to Rome in 1950 were she made a series of films including one with up and coming star Sophia Loren. Reportedly, in between movie work, she became a pretty good amateur race car driver in Rome as well.

In 1957 she married a former commander of the Viceroy of India who had himself been screen tested by Cubby Broccoli as a potential James Bond. As fate would have it, in 1961 she lobbied for the role in the James Bond film Doctor No because her husband became too ill to work anymore and they needed the money.  After reading the first draft of the script, she decided to play Bond’s girlfriend, Sylvia Trench but settled for Miss Moneypenny because it guaranteed at least two days of work.  Luckily for her she didn’t choose the first role since the character of Sylvia Trench was cut after the first movie, never to appear again.

Although she was world famous for the role of Miss Moneypenny, her total screen time in 14 Bond films was 20 minutes and she spoke fewer than 200 words. During her years playing the role she also played in two Bond spoofs angering Sean Connery by playing in Operation Kid OK in 1967 with his brother Neil Connery.

In 1973 Maxwell’s husband died after a long illness. She returned to Canada and wrote a column for the Toronto Sun under the Miss Penny pseudonym and became a business woman working in textile. In 1994 she returned to England once more and retired to Somerset.

After her death in 2007, Roger Moore revealed that she was upset that the character of Miss Moneypenny didn’t become the new M once Roger Moore retired from the role.  When Timothy Dalton took over the role she would have like to have been the new M.

Can you imagine, before Judi Dench, who happened to be 7 years her junior, Lois Maxwell could have been the new Section Chief in MI6 during the Timothy Dalton era?

Tell us what you think. Should the producers have allowed Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) a promotion to Section Chief to play M?

Anthony Hopkins In James Bond 23

Rumors are circulating that Anthony Hopkins has been tapped to play a villain in the upcoming Bond 23 movie and may become a recurring role for Bond 24. The gossip in Hollywood is that the producers of the upcoming Bond flick only want to invest in Hopkins appearance if he can play in both upcoming movies (MGM has secured a distribution deal for two more Bond outings). Hopkins is said to be reluctant to be tied down to two or more appearances but there are ongoing talks about concessions. I personally believe it would be a great boost to the franchise to add Hopkins as man behind the scenes like Blofeld. But this is a new century,the super villain role would have to be updated to match the times. Any one seeing Anthony Hopkins stroking a Persian cat in a 60’s style egg chair would automatically be reminded of Austin Powers (I meant, stroking the cat with his hand of course…).

Had a good laugh, ok, let’s move on.

Last month there were even stronger rumors that Javier Bardem was tapped to play a villain in Bond 23 as well. Are the producers, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson trying to pull out all the stops here to guarantee a blockbuster return by having both actors play a villain in the upcoming movie? I personally would love to see Hopkins and Bardem battle Bond but I’m afraid it would overshadow Bond as the main character by having two acting heavyweights as his nemesis? Also note that Daniel Craig’s contract was only for three Bond appearances. Unless Craig’s contract is extended, Craig will only see Hopkins stroke the proverbial Persian cat once.

Bond Gadgets Made Real

I’m sure you’ve all enjoyed Q’s amazing James Bond Gadgets over the years.  However, have you wondered if any of the amazing gizmos ever made it into the real world?

In You Only Live Twice (1967), Gyrojet rocket guns, which fired small missiles instead bullets, were featured. Around this time, both the British and American military developed working versions of these guns. Unfortunately, they never caught on.

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) had James Bond driving a Lotus Esprit Off a pier to escape trouble. Fortunately for him, it was designed to work underwater. In 2008 Rinspeed developed a working prototype called sQuba.  A heavily modified Lotus Elise, it can travel on land and underwater. All electric, The car operates underwater via Seabob water jets and electric-powered propellers.

In For Your Eyes Only (1981) Bond wore a Seiko wristwatch, which he used for voice comunication via a built in 2-way radio transmitter.  The AGPtek company now offers a wristwatch walkie-talkie which communicates up to six miles.

A View To A Kill (1985) had the ever resourceful Bond using the skid from a demolished snowmobile as a kind of snowboard.  While this Bond film didn’t invent or predict the snowboard, it apparently played a role in helping to turn snowboarding into a popular International sport.

In Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Bond was equipped with a mobile phone designed by the Ericsson company. It had various cool features, including a flip-open capability. Only a handful of years later, the Ericsson R380 smartphone came out, utilizing several of the Bond phone’s features including the flip-open aspect.

We all knew Bond films have always been great entertainment. It’s interesting to see that they served as a form of predictive fiction as well.

Claudine Auger “Thunderball”

Largo: “You’ve given me much pleasure Domino, but unless you tell me how much Bond knows I will be forced to cause you great pain.”

The role of Domino in Thunderball was originally to be an Italian woman: Dominetta Petacchi. Auger impressed the producers so much that they re-wrote the part to that of a French woman to better suit Auger. Although she took lessons to perfect her English, her voice was eventually dubbed by Nikki van der Zyl in this movie. Claudine would claim that she related to her character Domino, as she and Domino were involved with older men. The most immediate by-product of Claudine’s stardom was a semi-nude Playboy spread and a guest shot on an American TV special starring Danny Thomas and Bob Hope.

When she was 18, she married the 41-year-old writer-director Pierre Gaspard-Huit, and he cast her in several films:The Iron Mask (1962); The Vengeance of Kali (1963). Later, She was married to a businessman Peter Brent until his death in August 2008.

In 1971, she starred with two other Bond girls, Barbara Bach and Barbara Bouchet, in Black Belly of the Tarantula, a giallo mystery.

Luciana Paluzzi “Thunderball”


Fiona: Some men just don’t like to be driven.
Bond: No, some men don’t like to be taken for a ride.
Paluzzi’s role might have been short but memorable in Thunderball playing the Spectre assassin Viona Volpe.
Bond[after making love to the evil Fiona Volpe] My dear girl, don’t flatter yourself. What I did this evening was for King and country. You don’t think it gave me any pleasure, do you?
Fiona: But of course, I forgot your ego, Mr. Bond. James Bond, the one where he has to make love to a woman, and she starts to hear heavenly choirs singing. She repents, and turns to the side of right and virtue… [she steps on Bond’s foot] … but not this one!
Bond:[to himself] Well, you can’t win them all.
Unfortunately Bond uses Fiona as a human shield but it would have been interesting to see if Bond could have turned her.
In 1964 she played the villainess in another espionage-based Ian Fleming creation, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. She appeared as the seductive THRUSH agent Angela in the first season episode “The Four Steps Affair” and in the movie version of the show’s pilot episode, To Trap a Spy.


Unleash Your Inner James Bond

Bond Ambitions is calling on all writers who happen to love James Bond books, films and of course the Bond Ambitions website to express their inner Bond by submitting James Bond fan fiction stories.
Why should we wait for the next movie (November 2012) or the next book to satisfy the continuation of Quantum of Solace or “what if” scenarios of Bond turning rogue. As fans let us expand the Bond universe. Please submit short stories only. A short story can range from 150 to 3,500 words. It can include the main character, James Bond or any character from the franchise. You can even invent new characters with Bond like missions such as another double O agent or nemesis.
You can submit your short story here at Fan Fiction Submission.

Once your submission has been accepted we will send you an email letting you know when it will be published. We do not claim ownership of your submission but we do ask that you submit a story of your own since we do publish your name to the work.

A Gadget James Bond Would Envy

Remember when James Bond was able to maneuver his camera equipped 750 iL BMW through a multi-level car park from the back seat,  avoiding and taking out bad guys by using his Q provided Ericsson phone which happen to have a camera viewer and remote control for the car in Tomorrow Never Dies .

Now you can buy that same technology. Granted the car is scaled down to fit inside your home. Non the less, you can still remotely drive a remote controlled RC with a video camera, a mic, and speaker throughout your home from anywhere in the world using your mobile phone. Rovio from Wow Wee has created an app that works on both your Android powered mobile as well as an iPhone that looks similar to what James Bond was viewing and controlling from the backseat of his 750 iL with the added features of being able to communicate with anyone (or anything) that happens to be at your home or apartment.

The setup is pretty easy. The Rovio uses your home Wi-fi connection to the Internet to allow you to control the unit from anywhere using either a mobile phone, computer or even a Sony Playstation or Xbox.  If you are technophobe and don’t know wi-fi from your toaster then find the nearest teenager, offer them a few slices of pizza and watch them put the whole system together for you in less than 15 minutes. that’s including setting up and teaching you how to view and control the Rovio from your phone. Click here for more info on the Rovio and where you can get one.

The First 007

Before there was a James Bond or even an Ian Fleming novel there was John Dee(1527-1608) The original 007. Dee was a fascinating genius, considered a master spy for Elizabeth I as well as philosopher and cipher who captured the attention of the royal courts. John Dee originated the 007 insignia number for himself  and Elizabeth and was to be  use for private communiques between her Court and Dee.

Dee signed his letters with two circles symbolising his own two eyes and indicating that he was the secret eyes of the Queen. The two circles are guarded by what may be considered a square root sign or an elongated seven. For Dee, seven was a sacred and lucky number.

You were either intimidated by his ideas and reputation or you wished to be influenced by them. It has only been in the last century that we’ve had a more sober approach to Dee, thanks to such authors as Peter French, Francis Yates, Gerald Shuster and Richard Deacon who have rescued this “man of grand design” from obscurity and have realized how significant a thinker he was.

Dr. Dee’s learning was far and wide, a brilliant mathematician, whose study ranged from geo-cartography and calculus which was vital in navigating the New World for explorers.

His library at the riverside village of Mortlake was considered the finest private collection in Europe containing thousands of bound books and handwritten manuscripts devoted to philosophy, science and esoterica. In comparison the University of Cambridge at the time had a mere 451 total books and manuscripts in their possession.

Caroline Munro – “The Spy Who Loved Me”

Caroline Monro

In 1977, Munro turned down the opportunity to play villainess Ursa in Superman in favor of what would become her most celebrated film appearance, the ill-fated helicopter pilot Naomi in the Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. In one of the franchise’s most memorable car chase sequences, she seductively winks at Bond while trying to gun him down from her helicopter. In her role as Naomi, she holds the distinction of being the first woman ever undeniably killed by James Bond. Cubby Broccoli urged Caroline to make her way to America in search of more lucrative offers. She declined preferring to stay close to her family.
Throughout the 1980s, Munro was often cited by the press as being a candidate for the co-starring role in a proposed (but never produced) feature film based upon Doctor Who. The feature was being co-produced by her second husband George Dugdale. At various times, press reports linked her with numerous actors touted to play the role of The Doctor, including David Bowie.

Olga Kurylenko “Quantum Of Solace”

Olga Kurylenko

Olga plays the Bond Girl, Camille Montes, in the 22nd James Bond film, Quantum of Solace and portrays Nika Boronina in the movie adaptation of the video game Hitman. Kurylenko was discovered by a female model scout while on vacation in Moscow at the age of 13. When she was 17, she signed a contract with the Paris-based Madison modeling agency. By the age of 18, she had already appeared on the covers of Vogueand Elle.

While working as a model in Paris, Kurylenko supported her mother back home in Ukraine.

She grew up poor; she shared an apartment with her aunt and uncle, grandparents, and cousin. She never had any fancy clothes, often wearing hand-me-downs and re-sewing torn sweaters instead of buying new ones.

The fact that she is the first Bond girl from a post-Soviet state received mixed reactions in post-Soviet countries. The Saint Petersburg based Communist group KPLO has accused her of “moral and intellectual betrayal” in starring in a film about the “enemy of the Soviet people” (meaning James Bond), but the mayor of Berdyansk has suggested naming a street after her and Kurylenko and her mother met Ukraine’s First Lady Kateryna Yushchenko in President Yushchenko’s family country house.