French actress Claudine Auger, noted for her role as Dominique “Domino” Derval in James Bond film Thunderball, has died at the age of 78.
The news was announced by her agency Time Art, which said she died in Paris on Thursday (December 20), as reported by numerous French press. No cause of death was disclosed.
Auger began her acting career in France when Jean Cocteau cast her in a small role in his 1960 pic Testament Of Orpheus. At the age of 18, she married the French filmmaker Pierre Gaspard-Huit, who was 43 at the time, and he cast her in several of his films including his 1958 film Christine in which she appeared alongside Romy Schneider and Alain Delon.
Her big break came when she landed the role of Domino in Thunderball, the fourth pic in the James Bond franchise in which she starred with Sean Connery, playing the mistress of arch villain Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi). Auger’s role in the pic had initially been intended for an Italian actress, but casting directors were so impressed by her that the part was rewritten to be French.
While her career never solidified in the U.S., she did go on to star in spy movie Triple Cross (also directed by Thunderball helmer Terence Young) with Yul Brynner and Christopher Plummer.
Auger would continue to act steadily in European film and TV until the mid 1990s. In one of her later roles, she appeared in a 1994 episode of Brit TV show The Memoirs Of Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett.
After divorcing from Gaspard-Huit, she married UK businessman Peter Brent in the 1980s, having one child and remaining with him until he died in 2008.
The official James Bond twitter reacted to the news today, posting this tribute: