Eunice Gayson

Eunice Gayson
Born(1928-03-17)17 March 1928
Streatham, London, England
Died8 June 2018(2018-06-08) (aged 90)
London, England
Years active1948–2018
Notable credit(s)Bond girl Sylvia Trench in Dr. No and From Russia with Love
Spouse(s)Leigh Vance
(m. 1953; div. 1959)
Brian Jackson
(m. 1968; div. 1977)

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".

Early life

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.

Career

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.

Bond films

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".

Personal life

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.

Filmography

YearTitleRoleNotes
1948My Brother JonathanA Young Girl
1948It Happened in SohoJulie
1949The Huggetts AbroadPeggyUncredited
1949Melody in the DarkPat Evans
1950Dance HallMona
1951To Have and to HoldPeggy
1952Down Among the Z MenOfficer's WifeUncredited
1952Miss Robin HoodPam
1953Street CornerJanetUncredited
1954Dance, Little LadyAdele
1954One Just Man
1955Out of the CloudsPenny Henson
1956The Last Man to Hang?Elizabeth Anders
1956ZarakCathy Ingram
1957Carry on AdmiralJane Godfrey
1957Light FingersRose Levenham
1958The Revenge of FrankensteinMargaret
1958Hello LondonHerselfDocumentary
1962Dr. NoSylvia Trench
1963From Russia with Love

External links

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Eunice Gayson", which is released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.