09 October 2007

A 007 farewell to Lois Maxwell and John Gardner

The World of James Bond recently lost two of its important inhabitants, one cinematic and one literary.

Canadian actress Lois Maxwell (1927–2007) played Miss Moneypenny, M's secretary with the unrequited yearning for 007, in every official EON James Bond film from 1962's Dr. No to 1985's A View to a Kill. She departed the series along with Roger Moore to make way for a newer Moneypenny/Bond combo. Maxwell did a number of other films, and aside from the Bond series she is best remembered for play Dr. Markaway's wife in The Haunting, one the greatest horror films ever made. Moneypenny was only a small part in the novels, so it was Maxwell who gave us the charming character who we all know today. She left an indelible imprint on the movie series, and like the deceased Demond Llewellyn (who played Q) and Bernard Lee (who played M), has never truly been replaced in fan's hearts.

British author John Gardner (1926–2007) was the second writer after Ian Fleming's death to officially continue Bond's adventures. (The first was Kingsley Amis, who wrote only one novel, Colonel Sun.) Starting in 1981 with License Renewed and ending in 1996 with COLD, he wrote fourteen Bond novels. His books leaned closer to the style of the movies than Fleming's books, and some were enjoyable (For Special Services, Nobody Lives Forever) and some were not (Brokenclaw, The Man from Barbarossa). Nonetheless, he got Bond back on the bookshelves, and provided some light entertainment for fans such as myself. Gardner also wrote a number of other popular thrillers and was active up until his death with his "Suzie Mountford" series.