Shirley Eaton

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Shirley Eaton
Born (1937-01-12) 12 January 1937 (age 78)
London, England, UK
Nationality British
Occupation Actress
Years active 1951–1969
Spouse(s) Colin Rowe (m. 1957; died 1994)
Children 2

Shirley Eaton (born 12 January 1937) is an English actress. She was considered a sex symbol in the 1960s.[1]

Eaton appeared regularly in British films throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and achieved notability for her performance as Bond Girl Jill Masterson in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger. Preferring to devote herself to bringing up a family, Eaton retired from acting in 1969.

Life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Eaton was born on 12 January 1937 in Edgware General Hospital, Middlesex, and brought up in the suburb of Kingsbury. She attended Roe Green Primary School on Princes Avenue, and although living close to both Kingsbury County Grammar School and Tylers Croft Secondary Modern School, won a place at the Aida Foster Theatre School, a specialist drama school, and remained there until she was sixteen.[2] Her stage debut was in Benjamin Britten's Let's Make an Opera! and her West End debut was in 1954 in Going to Town.[2]

All through the fifties she was a singing star both on the stage and on television, appearing with her own act in variety shows all over the country and starring at The Prince of Wales Theatre in London in her own solo singing act, as well as appearing in many films. Throughout her career, she appeared with many of the top British male comedy stars from the period including Jimmy Edwards, Max Bygraves, Bob Monkhouse and Arthur Askey. Her female co-stars included Peggy Mount, Thora Hird and Dora Bryan among others. Her early roles include Three Men in a Boat (1956) and Date with Disaster (1957), in which she co-starred with Tom Drake. She also worked with the Crazy Gang in Life Is a Circus (1958) and with Mickey Spillane in The Girl Hunters (1963) in which Spillane played his own literary creation Mike Hammer. She appeared in several early Carry On films. She made three episodes of The Saint, starring Roger Moore. Eaton participated in the British heat of the 1957 Eurovision Song Contest.

Eaton achieved most recognition for her performance as Jill Masterson in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger, gaining more recognition than actress Honor Blackman, who played famed Bond Girl Pussy Galore. She appeared on the cover of Life Magazine in her gold-painted persona. Her character's death, being painted head to toe in gold paint and suffering "skin suffocation" led to an urban myth that Eaton had died during filming. She appeared in a 2003 episode of the series MythBusters to dispel the rumour. Her voice was dubbed by another actress.[3]

After Goldfinger, Eaton made only a few more films, including the 1965 version of the Agatha Christie mystery Ten Little Indians co-starring Hugh O'Brian and in a 1967 Bob Hope comedy, Eight on the Lam, plus the spy story The Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967), before her retirement.

Personal life[edit]

Eaton was married to Colin Lenton Rowe from 1957 until his death in 1994. The couple had two children, Grant and Jason. Eaton retired from acting to bring up her family and later commented in a 1999 interview with Steve Swires of Starlog magazine, "A career is a career, but you're a mother until you die". She repeated this statement in an interview with journalist James Davies on 18 June 2008, adding, "The most important thing for me was being a woman and having a family more than being a very famous glamorous actress".[4]

Eaton published an autobiography in 1999 titled Golden Girl. Her new art/autobiography book Under My Skin has not been published yet. She has described it as "an up-to-date autobiography mostly in a picture form: the first part covering my career and life then and now, with another section on my art then and now, too."[5]


Film Year Role
The Seven Secrets of Sumuru 1969 Sumuru
The Saint 1962-1968 Adrienne Halberd/Gloria Uckrose/Reb Denning (3 episodes)
The Blood of Fu Manchu 1968 Black Widow
The Million Eyes of Sumuru 1967 Sumuru
Eight on the Lam 1967 Ellie Barton
The Scorpio Letters (TV) 1967 Phoebe Stewart
Around the World Under the Sea 1966 Dr. Margaret E. 'Maggie' Hanford
Ten Little Indians 1965 Ann Clyde
The Naked Brigade 1965 Diana Forsythe
Goldfinger 1964 Jill Masterson
Rhino! 1964 Miss Arleigh
The Girl Hunters 1963 Laura Knapp
Man of the World 1962 Lee (1 episode)
Our Man in the Caribbean 1962 Lee
What a Carve Up! 1961 Linda Dickson
A Weekend with Lulu 1961 Deirdre Proudfoot
Dentist on the Job 1961 Jill Venner
Nearly a Nasty Accident 1961 Cpl. Jean Briggs
Carry On Constable 1960 Sally Barry
Life Is a Circus 1960 Shirley Winter
In the Wake of a Stranger 1959 Joyce Edwards
Carry On Nurse 1959 Staff Nurse Dorothy Denton
Further Up the Creek 1958 Jane
Carry On Sergeant 1958 Mary Sage
The Naked Truth 1957 Melissa Right
Date with Disaster 1957 Sue
Doctor at Large 1957 Nan
Three Men in a Boat 1956 Sophie Clutterbuck
Sailor Beware! 1956 Shirley Hornett
Charley Moon 1956 Angel Dream
The Love Match 1955 Rose Brown
And So to Bentley 1954 1 episode
The Belles of St Trinian's 1954 Sixth Former (uncredited)
Doctor in the House 1954 Milly Groaker
You Know What Sailors Are 1954 Palace Girl (uncredited)
A Day to Remember 1953 Young Woman on Ferry (uncredited)
Parent-Craft 1951 Anne Pebble (TV series)


  1. ^ Strodder, Chris; Phillips, Michelle (1 March 2007). The Encyclopedia of Sixties Cool: A Celebration of the Grooviest People, Events, and Artifacts of the 1960s. Santa Monica Press. p. 104. ISBN 978-1-59580-017-6. 
  2. ^ a b Reid, John Howard (2006). America's Best, Britain's Finest: A Survey of Mixed Movies. Morrisville, NC: Lulu Press. p. 144. ISBN 978-1-4116-7877-4. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "A career is a career, but you're a mother until you die". Interview with James Davies on 18 June 2008. [1]
  5. ^ Armstrong, Richard. "Shirley Eaton Talks with the Café about James Bond, Mickey Spillane, and Her New Book". Classic Film & TV Cafe. 

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