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12 January 1937 |
|Spouse(s)||Colin Rowe (m. 1957; d. 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. Eaton also had notable roles in the early Carry On films. 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 1950s 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 Nikki van der Zyl.
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. In a 2014 interview, she explained: "After I finished The Million Eyes of Sumuru and The Girl from Rio and was coming home in the plane was when I made the decision to quit. I hated being away from my baby Jason and his brother Grant. However, I did enjoy being the wicked lady Sumuru in two rather bad films, which I had not had the chance to be before. I do believe they have become cult films now."
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 the 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 two newer books (Golden Girl Shirley Eaton Her Reflections) a picture book of all her film photos throughout her career and the second book, (Shirley Eaton Bonds Golden Girl; her own ART Gallery) is full of her painting and sculptures over a lifetime and more recently her art and photography.
|Parent-Craft||1951||Anne Pebble (TV series)|
|A Day to Remember||1953||Young Woman on Ferry (uncredited)|
|You Know What Sailors Are||1954||Palace Girl (uncredited)|
|Doctor in the House||1954||Milly Groaker|
|The Belles of St Trinian's||1954||Sixth Former (uncredited)|
|And So to Bentley||1954||1 episode|
|The Love Match||1955||Rose Brown|
|Charley Moon||1956||Angel Dream|
|Sailor Beware!||1956||Shirley Hornett|
|Three Men in a Boat||1956||Sophie Clutterbuck|
|Doctor at Large||1957||Nan|
|Date with Disaster||1957||Sue|
|The Naked Truth||1957||Melissa Right|
|Carry On Sergeant||1958||Mary Sage|
|Further Up the Creek||1958||Jane|
|Carry On Nurse||1959||Staff Nurse Dorothy Denton|
|In the Wake of a Stranger||1959||Joyce Edwards|
|Life Is a Circus||1960||Shirley Winter|
|Carry On Constable||1960||Sally Barry|
|Nearly a Nasty Accident||1961||Cpl. Jean Briggs|
|Dentist on the Job||1961||Jill Venner|
|A Weekend with Lulu||1961||Deirdre Proudfoot|
|What a Carve Up!||1961||Linda Dickson|
|The Saint||1962-1968||Adrienne Halberd/Gloria Uckrose/Reb Denning (3 episodes)|
|Our Man in the Caribbean||1962||Lee|
|Man of the World||1962||Lee (1 episode)|
|The Girl Hunters||1963||Laura Knapp|
|The Naked Brigade||1965||Diana Forsythe|
|Ten Little Indians||1965||Ann Clyde|
|Around the World Under the Sea||1966||Dr. Margaret E. 'Maggie' Hanford|
|Eight on the Lam||1967||Ellie Barton|
|The Million Eyes of Sumuru||1967||Sumuru|
|The Blood of Fu Manchu||1968||Black Widow|
|The Seven Secrets of Sumuru||1969||Sumuru|
- 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.
- Wright, Stephen (2012-09-21). "Bond's secret girl: Unknown artist dubbed the voices of 007's best-known beauties - but know she's banned from the movies spy's 50th birthday party!". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-12-03.
- Armstrong, Richard. "Shirley Eaton Talks with the Café about James Bond, Mickey Spillane, and Her New Book". Classic Film & TV Cafe. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- "JAMES DAVIES MEDIA - Journalist, Showbiz Reporter: James Davies Interviews Bond's golden girl, Shirley Eaton". Jamesdaviesmedia.blogspot.com. 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2015-12-03.