CBC Digital Archives

Meet Miss Moneypenny

More than 50 years after suave British spy James Bond first appeared in the novel Casino Royale, the deadly secret agent remains among the most popular characters in fiction. Bond books were bestsellers and the movie franchise has grossed over US $4 billion. 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of Bond creator Ian Fleming's birth and, in celebration of his inimitable creation, the CBC Digital Archives explores the Canadian connections to the British spy and looks back on the early days of Bond ... James Bond.

media clip
Canadian actress Lois Maxwell is best known for trading not-so-subtle sexual puns with James Bond as the flirtatious yet unobtainable secretary Miss Moneypenny. In this 1981 episode of Front Page Challenge, the veteran vixen shares her memories of moviemaking with the Bonds as well as newly elected U.S. president Ronald Reagan.
• Maxwell played Miss Moneypenny in 14 James Bond films, from 1962's Dr. No and A View To A Kill in 1985. Her total screen time amounted to less than two hours and fewer than 200 words. Her 14 appearances are second only to Desmond Llwelyn, who played gadget expert Q in 18 films.

• Knowing that A View To A Kill would be her final Bond movie, Maxwell asked that the Moneypenny character be killed off, but producer Albert Broccoli refused and recast the role instead.

• Miss Moneypenny's first name is Jane.

• The 1947 film That Hagen Girl, with Ronald Reagan and Shirley Temple, was Maxwell's first major film role. She won a Golden Globe award as "Most Promising Female Newcomer" for her work in the film.

• The "false" Italian Bond film that Maxwell refers to is called OK Connery or, in the U.S. Operation Kid Brother. Sean Connery's brother Neil played James Bond's brother, who fills in for 007 to defeat a crime syndicate. The film also featured Bernard Lee, who portrayed Bond's boss M in the official Bond films. The two also appeared in From Hong Kong With Love a French Bond knock-off.

• In this interview, Lois Maxwell alludes to another co-star's political career. She's referring to Shirley Temple, who served as U.S. ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia after her film career.

• Maxwell retreated from film and television work after A View To A Kill, making scattered TV appearances and just one more movie (The Fourth Angel in 2001).

• In a 2006 interview, Maxwell recalled Bond creator Ian Fleming telling her, "When I wrote Miss Moneypenny, I envisaged a tall, elegant woman with the most kissable lips in the world, and you, my dear, are the epitome of that dream of mine."

• She and future Bond Roger Moore met at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, England in 1944. They remained close friends until Maxwell's death in 2007.

• Lois Maxwell died in Fremantle, Australia on Sept. 29, 2007 at age 80.

Medium: Television
Program: Front Page Challenge
Broadcast Date: Jan. 19, 1981
Guest: Lois Maxwell
Panellists: Pierre Berton, Betty Kennedy, Gordon Sinclair, Gary Drury
Duration: 7:45
Please contact the Writers Guild of Canada at 416-979-7907 X5236 if you are able to identify the writer of this clip.

Last updated: April 2, 2014

Page consulted on January 19, 2015

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

Bond girls: short skirts, shorter careers

Does James Bond's license to kill also target his female co-stars' careers?

Licensed to make a killing with James Bond

An interview with the architects of the Bond movies.