Today we learnt of the recent death of Thunderball actress Claudine Auger after a long period of illness.
Born in Paris on 26th April 1941, Claudine Auger first came to prominence as runner up in the 1958 Miss World contest. She made her film debut when still in school in Pierre Gaspard-Huit’s Christine (1958) and at the age of 18 married the 43-year-old writer-director. She was cast by Jean Cocteau in Testament of Orpheus (1960) and had roles in several of Gaspard-Huit’s films in the early 1960s.
Kevin McClory saw Auger while on holiday in Nassau and recommended that she audition for Thunderball (1965). The role of Domino was originally to be Italian but Auger impressed the producers so much that they rewrote the part as a French woman. Although she took lessons to perfect her English, her voice was eventually dubbed by Nikki van der Zyl. Auger would claim that she related to her character Domino, as she and Domino were both involved with older men.
Thunderball launched Auger into a successful European movie career, but did little for her otherwise in the United States. She did however star in a 1966 Danny Thomas Special called ‘The Road to Lebanon’ with Bing Crosby. After Thunderball she co-starred in the World War II drama Triple Cross (1966) with Yul Brynner and Christopher Plummer, which reunited her with her director Terence Young. She also appeared in The Killing Game (1967).
She continued to work in European cinema until the early 1990s. In 1968 she co-starred with Ursula Andress in the Italian comedy Anyone Can Play, while in 1971 she starred with Barbara Bach in Black Belly of the Tarantula. In 1994, Auger appeared in the British television series The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, in ‘The Three Gables’ as Isadora Klein, one of the last episodes of that series starring Jeremy Brett.
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