Jill Masterson – The Golden Bond Girl
Jill Masterson serves as the aide-de-camp to billionaire industrialist Auric Goldfinger. Adapted from the literary character Jill Masterton, who first appears in Ian Fleming’s 1959 novel Goldfinger, she’s portrayed by British actress and model Shirley Eaton in the 1964 film adaptation.
She also makes a brief appearance in Activision’s 2012 James Bond video game, 007 Legends. Although her role in the film is limited, Jill’s death by “skin suffocation” is one of the most iconic scenes in cinema history.
Jill Masterson unwittingly gets involved with the obsessive and pathological criminal, Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), serving as his kept lady and helping him win at cards by spying on his opponents.
Using high-powered binoculars, Jill can see Goldfinger’s opponents’ cards and communicates with him via radio, with Goldfinger receiving messages through a fake hearing aid. This allows him to stay ahead in the game.
In the film Goldfinger, when CIA operative Felix Leiter meets James Bond (Sean Connery) at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami and tells him M wants him to investigate Auric Goldfinger, they observe Goldfinger’s suspicious luck at cards.
Bond sneaks into Goldfinger’s suite and discovers Jill lying on a sunbed on the balcony. After questioning her, he learns that their relationship is purely professional. Bond then uses the radio to threaten Goldfinger, telling him to lose the money he has gained by cheating or he will call the Miami Beach Police.
Impressed by Bond’s audacity, Jill Masterson accompanies him back to his hotel suite and they spend some time alone together.
Goldfinger learns of her betrayal and is angry at losing his money, so he sends his henchman Oddjob (Harold Sakata) to kill her. Oddjob knocks Bond unconscious and kills Jill Masterson by skin asphyxiation.
When Bond comes around he staggers to the bedroom to find Jill Masterson’s dead body covered in gold paint.
Jill’s sister, Tilly, attempts to avenge her death by killing Auric Goldfinger, but her efforts are unsuccessful. Her persistence ultimately results in her own demise when Oddjob’s razor-rimmed hat strikes her in the neck.
Shirley Jean Eaton, born on January 12, 1937, in London, is an English actress, singer, and author. A talented child performer, she attended the Aida Foster Theatre School to pursue acting.
She made her stage debut in Benjamin Britten’s Let’s Make an Opera! and became a popular singing star in the 1950s, performing on stage, television, and in various films. Shirley Eaton’s career took off after appearing in The Belles of St Trinian’s, two Doctor films, and Crazy Gang in Life Is a Circus.
Eaton’s most iconic casting came as Bond girl Jill Masterson in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger. Her character’s death, depicted naked and painted from head to toe, remains a memorable scene from the Bond series. Her performance was so unforgettable that she graced the cover of Life magazine, covered in gold paint.
Following Goldfinger, Shirley Eaton appeared in only a few more films before retiring to raise her family. She briefly came out of retirement in 2001, starring as a talent scout in Everdream. Eaton was married to Colin Lenton Rowe from 1957 until his passing in 1994, and they had two children together.
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In addition to her acting and singing career, Eaton is also an author and artist. She published her autobiography, Golden Girl, in 1999, followed by two more books: Golden Girl Shirley Eaton: Her Reflections, a picture book featuring film photos from her career, and Shirley Eaton, Bond’s Golden Girl, which is made up of her own Art Gallery, a book showcasing her paintings, sculptures, and photography spanning her lifetime.
Jill Masterson – The Golden Bond Girl
Jill Masterson is a memorable and iconic character in the James Bond franchise, despite her relatively small role. Portrayed by the talented Shirley Eaton, Jill’s tragic and visually striking death scene in Goldfinger has left a lasting impact on cinema history.
As a secondary Bond girl, her character has not only inspired future Bond films but has also become a symbol of the glamour and danger associated with the world of 007.