British actress and model Tania Mallet has died, the official James Bond Twitter handle announced on Sunday. She was 77.
“We are very sorry to hear that Tania Mallet who played Tilly Masterson in GOLDFINGER has passed away,” the account tweeted. “Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time.”
“Unfortunately we must share the very sad news that our dear friend Tania Mallet has sadly passed away,” Bondstars posted on its Facebook page on Sunday. “She was a very classy and beautiful lady inside and out.”
Mallet — whom her cousin Helen Mirren, 73, once described as “impossibly beautiful and kind” — rose to fame as a model in the 1950s and ‘60s and is best known for appearing as Bond girl Tilly Masterson in 1964’s Goldfinger opposite Sean Connery, 88.
Producer Cubby Broccoli originally tested Mallet for the part of Tatiana Romanova in 1957’s From Russia With Love after seeing a picture of her modeling in a bikini, according to the U.K.’s Mirror. While she missed out on that role, Mallet went on to score a part in Goldfinger. Her character was ultimately killed off in the film, and Mallet continued to model.
Mirren wrote about her older cousin in her 2008 memoir In the Frame: My Life in Words and Pictures, calling her “a loyal and generous person” who helped support her mother and brother financially with the money she made from modeling.