12 January 1937 |
London, England, UK
|Spouse(s)||Colin Rowe (m. 1957; wid. 1994)|
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
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. 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.
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.
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.
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".
Eaton published an autobiography in 1999 titled Golden Girl. Her new art/autobiography book Under My Skin will be published Spring of 2014 and she is publishing an art Calendar for 2014 with her own photography.
- The Seven Secrets of Sumuru (1969) as Sumuru
- The Saint (3 episodes, 1962–1968)
- The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968) as Black Widow
- The Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967) as Sumuru
- Eight on the Lam (1967) as Ellie Barton
- The Scorpio Letters (1967) (TV) as Phoebe Stewart
- Around the World Under the Sea (1966/I) as Dr. Margaret E. 'Maggie' Hanford
- Ten Little Indians (1965) as Ann Clyde
- The Naked Brigade (1965) as Diana Forsythe
- Goldfinger (1964) as Jill Masterson
- Rhino! (1964) as Miss Arleigh
- The Girl Hunters (1963) as Laura Knapp
- Man of the World as Lee (1 episode, 1962)
- Our Man in the Caribbean (1962)
- What a Carve Up! (1961) as Linda Dickson
- A Weekend with Lulu (1961) as Deirdre Proudfoot
- Dentist on the Job (1961) as Jill Venner
- Nearly a Nasty Accident (1961) as Cpl. Jean Briggs
- Carry On Constable (1960) as Sally Barry
- Life Is a Circus (1960) as Shirley Winter
- In the Wake of a Stranger (1959) as Joyce Edwards
- Carry On Nurse (1959) as Staff Nurse Dorothy Denton
- Further Up the Creek (1958) as Jane
- Carry On Sergeant (1958) as Mary Sage
- The Naked Truth (1957) as Melissa Right
- Date with Disaster (1957) as Sue
- Doctor at Large (1957) as Nan
- Three Men in a Boat (1956) as Sophie Clutterbuck
- Sailor Beware! (1956) as Shirley Hornett
- Charley Moon (1956) as Angel Dream
- The Love Match (1955) as Rose Brown
- And So to Bentley (1 episode, 1954)
- The Belles of St Trinian's (1954) (uncredited) as Sixth Former
- Doctor in the House (1954) as Milly Groaker
- You Know What Sailors Are (1954) as Bit Part
- A Day to Remember (1953) (uncredited) as Young Woman on Ferry
- Parent-Craft (1951) TV series as Anne Pebble
- 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.
- 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.
- "A career is a career, but you're a mother until you die". Interview with James Davies on 18 June 2008. 
- Shirley Eaton at the Internet Movie Database
- Article debunking the "skin suffocation" urban legend from Snopes.com
- James Davies Interview with Shirley Eaton, 18 June 2008.