FYI logo

The Death of The Goldpainted Bondgirl

Hollywood is filled with myths and legends, and this tragic tale wasn't what it was believed to be.

By Jason Ray Morton Published 5 months ago 3 min read
Steven Lek, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

It was the sixties. Imagine being young, wild, and free. Hollywood, in the sixties, was a different beast than it is today. So, when an attractive British actress gets her chance to play one of the iconic Bond girls, she's going to take the opportunity and run with it.

Appearing alongside the likes of Sean Connery, even then, must have been a daunting task. The quintessential performer that he was had a presence that would have intimidated many. He would become a Hollywood legend, and be the long-debated favorite of many 007 movie fans. Along the way, he would work with many of the world's most beautiful women to grace the screen.

Nobody would expect that a movie role would make you a part of Hollywood's most iconic history. The hope to make an impact is always there, but it's a lofty expectation. So, when Shirley Eaton exploded onto the big screen as the character behind one of Bond's most iconic scenes, she had to have felt the promise such recognition could bring.

What happened after the infamous scene when Bond (Sean Connery) finder the painted victim in his bed was a part of Hollywood's many myths and legends.

The Death Of A Bond Girl

One of the many Hollywood legends centers around the death of Goldfinger actress Shirley Eaton.

Shirley Eaton played Jill Masterson, a character that helped Auric Goldfinger cheat people at cards. What else would a good henchwoman do? Like many evil henchwomen in the long-running James Bond series, she eventually turns the table on her gold-obsessed boss.

Falling into the arms of the world’s greatest spy, she runs afoul of her villainous former employer, and he decides she’s got to be dealt with. How does he kill the Bond girl? He paints her gold from head to toe.

Bond (Sean Connery) announces that she’s died of “skin asphyxiation.” The story of Shirley Eaton’s untimely demise on the set of Goldfinger became a part of Hollywood lore. People dying on the set or while filming movies for Hollywood wasn’t out of the question.

There’s been Bruce Lee’s death while filming, and tragically, his son Brandon died many years later while filming a movie. Names like Steve Irwin (Crocodile Hunter), Heather O’Rourke (Poltergeist), Bela Lugosi (Dracula films), and many others have died while filming movies.

The Truth Behind The Fiction

Credit Sean Connery for delivering the line so convincingly that people believed it was true.

Before the internet era, it would have been harder to disprove such a story. In the internet era, a simple search will tell you that Shirley Eaton lived on after Goldfinger. So, why did people believe that being covered entirely in gold paint would kill someone?

Having heard the old expression “let your skin breathe,” it’s easy to draw a line between the idea of letting your skin breathe and the word asphyxiation. Considering that Ms. Eaton was an English actress and many of them didn’t spend their entire lives in Hollywood, returning to the British filming market would have kept her out of the American public’s eye. Before the explosion of cable television, streaming services, and the video market of the 80s and 90s, some shows and movies didn’t make it into international markets.

In reality, Ms. Eaton lived a long life, born in 1937 and doing well as recently as August 2022. In a 2015 interview, Ms. Eaton is quoted as saying she liked all the guys that played the infamous 007, but that her favorite remains the same, Sean Connery. Without knowing Ms. Eaton, I'd say she has great taste in British spies.

HistoricalPop Culture

About the Creator

Jason Ray Morton

I have always enjoyed writing and exploring new ideas, new beliefs, and the dreams that rattle around inside my head. I have enjoyed the current state of science, human progress, fantasy and existence and write about them when I can.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments (1)

Sign in to comment
  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock5 months ago

    Fun article. Of course, had she been painted both inside & out with her lungs filled with gold paint, the story might have ended differently. But the camera does not require such things.

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.