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Shirley Eaton’s Iconic Role in James Bond’s Goldfinger

Shirley Eaton, born Shirley Jean Eaton on January 12, 1937, in Edgware, Middlesex, England, is an English actress who gained fame for her iconic role as Bond Girl Jill Masterson in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger. This role solidified her status as a bombshell and sex symbol in the ’60s. Eaton was known for her blonde good looks and Cockney English accent, which added to her allure.

Goldfinger making off
Goldfinger making off

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Eaton appeared regularly in British films and established herself as a singing star on stage and television. She performed with her own act in variety shows across the country and had a successful solo singing act at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London. Eaton also appeared in various films of the era and worked with notable British comedy stars such as Jimmy Edwards, Bob Monkhouse, and Arthur Askey. Her early roles included films like Three Men in a Boat (1956) and Date with Disaster (1957). She also had roles in the early Carry On films and worked with the Crazy Gang in Life Is a Circus (1958).

Shirley Eaton in "Life Is a Circus" (1958)
Shirley Eaton in “Life Is a Circus” (1958)

Eaton’s breakthrough role came in 1964 when she portrayed Jill Masterson in Goldfinger. Her character’s death, famously depicted as being painted head to toe in gold and suffering “skin suffocation,” became one of the most memorable scenes in Bond film history. Eaton’s appearance as a gold-painted Bond Girl earned her a spot on the cover of Life magazine, further adding to her fame. It should be noted, however, that the urban myth that Eaton died during filming is false. She dispelled this rumor in a 2003 episode of MythBusters.

Following Goldfinger, Eaton made a few more films, including Rhino! (1964), Around the World Under the Sea (1966), Ten Little Indians (1965), Eight on the Lam (1967), and The Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967), where she played the title role. In a 2014 interview, Eaton revealed that after filming The Million Eyes of Sumuru, she made the decision to retire from acting. Despite her relatively short film career, Eaton left an indelible mark on cinema with her portrayal of Jill Masterson in Goldfinger.

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After retiring from acting, Eaton focused on raising her family. In 1999, she came out of retirement to release her autobiography titled Golden Girl, which became a bestseller. She subsequently released three more books throughout the 2000s, including picture books of her film photos and a collection showcasing her paintings and sculptures.

Goldfinger making off
Goldfinger making off

Eaton was married to Colin Lenton Rowe from 1957 until his death in 1994. They had two children together, Grant and Jason. Eaton has always emphasized the importance of family and motherhood in her life, stating in interviews that being a mother is the most important role she has played.

In conclusion, Shirley Eaton’s iconic role as Jill Masterson in Goldfinger catapulted her to bombshell status and cemented her place in film history. Her gold-painted image on the cover of Life magazine became an iconic symbol of the Bond franchise. Despite her relatively short film career, Eaton’s contribution to cinema endures, and her role in Goldfinger remains one of the most memorable in the James Bond series.

Early Career and Rise to Fame

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Eaton appeared regularly in British films and established herself as a singing star on stage and television. She performed with her own act in variety shows across the country and had a successful solo singing act at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London. Eaton also appeared in various films of the era and worked with notable British comedy stars such as Jimmy Edwards, Bob Monkhouse, and Arthur Askey. Her early roles included films like Three Men in a Boat (1956) and Date with Disaster (1957). She also had roles in the early Carry On films and worked with the Crazy Gang in Life Is a Circus (1958).

two of the "Doctor" film series
two of the “Doctor” film series

Eaton’s breakthrough role came in 1964 when she portrayed Jill Masterson in Goldfinger. Her character’s death, famously depicted as being painted head to toe in gold and suffering “skin suffocation,” became one of the most memorable scenes in Bond film history. Eaton’s appearance as a gold-painted Bond Girl earned her a spot on the cover of Life magazine, further adding to her fame. It should be noted, however, that the urban myth that Eaton died during filming is false. She dispelled this rumor in a 2003 episode of MythBusters.

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Memorable Role as Jill Masterson

Eaton’s breakthrough role came in 1964 when she portrayed Jill Masterson in Goldfinger. Her character’s death, famously depicted as being painted head to toe in gold and suffering “skin suffocation,” became one of the most memorable scenes in Bond film history. Eaton’s appearance as a gold-painted Bond Girl earned her a spot on the cover of Life magazine, further adding to her fame. It should be noted, however, that the urban myth that Eaton died during filming is false. She dispelled this rumor in a 2003 episode of MythBusters.

As Jill Masterson, Eaton portrayed a character who was seduced by Auric Goldfinger and ultimately betrayed by him. Her death, in which she lies on a hotel bed completely covered in gold paint, is an iconic scene in Bond history. The scene was also controversial at the time, as it was seen by some as exploitative and objectifying. Despite this criticism, Eaton’s portrayal of Jill Masterson remains a major moment in the history of the Bond franchise.

Jill Masterson
Jill Masterson

Post-Goldfinger Career and Retirement

Following Goldfinger, Eaton made a few more films, including Rhino! (1964), Around the World Under the Sea (1966), Ten Little Indians (1965), Eight on the Lam (1967), and The Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967), where she played the title role. In a 2014 interview, Eaton revealed that after filming The Million Eyes of Sumuru, she made the decision to retire from acting. Despite her relatively short film career, Eaton left an indelible mark on cinema with her portrayal of Jill Masterson in Goldfinger.

Ten Little Indians (1965)
Ten Little Indians (1965)

After retiring from acting, Eaton focused on raising her family. In 1999, she came out of retirement to release her autobiography titled Golden Girl, which became a bestseller. She subsequently released three more books throughout the 2000s, including picture books of her film photos and a collection showcasing her paintings and sculptures.

Eaton was married to Colin Lenton Rowe from 1957 until his death in 1994. They had two children together, Grant and Jason. Eaton has always emphasized the importance of family and motherhood in her life, stating in interviews that being a mother is the most important role she has played.

Life Beyond Acting

After retiring from acting, Eaton focused on raising her family. She married Colin Lenton Rowe in 1957, and they had two children together, Grant and Jason. Eaton has always emphasized the importance of family and motherhood in her life, stating in interviews that being a mother is the most important role she has played.

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Shirley Eaton
Shirley Eaton

In 1999, Eaton came out of retirement to release her autobiography titled Golden Girl, which became a bestseller. She subsequently released three more books throughout the 2000s, including picture books of her film photos and a collection showcasing her paintings and sculptures.

Literary Work and Artistic Expression

In 1999, she came out of retirement to release her autobiography titled Golden Girl, which became a bestseller. This book detailed her life in the limelight and the years that followed, including her decision to retire from acting and focus on her family.

Following the success of Golden Girl, Eaton went on to publish three more books showcasing her artistic talents. In 2003, she released a picture book titled The Art of glamour, which showcased her film photographs from the 1960s. Her second book, Living Easy with Eyes Closed (2006), was a collection of her paintings and sculptures. In 2009, Eaton released her third book, All Those Tomorrows, a collection of poetry that reflected on her life and experiences.

Eaton’s artistic endeavors were not limited to literature. In 2008, she exhibited her artwork at the Strand Gallery in London. Her paintings and sculptures were met with critical acclaim, confirming her status as a talented artist.

Despite her success as an artist and author, Eaton remains best known for her iconic role in Goldfinger. Her portrayal of Jill Masterson remains one of the most memorable Bond Girls in film history. Eaton’s legacy endures, and her impact on cinema and pop culture remains significant.

Shirley Eaton Working-on-Colins-head
Shirley Eaton Working-on-Colins-head

 

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FAQ

Q: What is Shirley Eaton’s most famous role?

A: Shirley Eaton’s most famous role is as Jill Masterson, the iconic Bond Girl in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger.

Q: What happened to Shirley Eaton’s character in Goldfinger?

A: In the film, Shirley Eaton’s character, Jill Masterson, is famously depicted as being painted head to toe in gold and ultimately dies from “skin suffocation.”

Q: Did Shirley Eaton die during the filming of Goldfinger?

A: No, the rumor that Shirley Eaton died during the filming of Goldfinger is false. She debunked this myth in a 2003 episode of MythBusters.

Q: What other films did Shirley Eaton appear in?

A: Apart from Goldfinger, Shirley Eaton also appeared in films like Rhino! (1964), Around the World Under the Sea (1966), Ten Little Indians (1965), Eight on the Lam (1967), and The Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967).

Q: Did Shirley Eaton continue acting after retiring from the film industry?

A: No, Shirley Eaton retired from acting after filming The Million Eyes of Sumuru in 1967.

Q: What books did Shirley Eaton write?

A: Shirley Eaton wrote an autobiography titled Golden Girl in 1999, which became a bestseller. She also released three more books throughout the 2000s, including picture books of her film photos and a collection showcasing her paintings and sculptures.

Q: Is Shirley Eaton still married?

A: No, Shirley Eaton was married to Colin Lenton Rowe from 1957 until his death in 1994.

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