Corinne Dufour – Hugo Drax’s Personal Pilot
Corinne Dufour, a captivating character from the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker, plays an intriguing role as the personal pilot to the wealthy and dangerous industrialist, Hugo Drax.
Brought to life by the talented French actress Corinne Cléry, Dufour’s journey to the silver screen is an interesting tale in itself, as she was originally conceived as a blonde American pilot named Trudi Parker, in the novelization of the film.
In his investigation into the stolen Moonraker space shuttle, James Bond meets its owner, Hugo Drax, after being picked up from Los Angeles International Airport by his personal helicopter pilot, Corinne Dufour.
She offers Bond an aerial view of Drax’s property and transports him to his luxurious Californian estate. Once Bond’s and Drax’s meeting wraps up, Corinne Dufour introduces Bond to Dr. Holly Goodhead.
Bond is staying at Drax’s château, and later at night he seeks out Dufour in her bedroom, hoping to gather information. Dufour reluctantly shares her limited knowledge and the two end up spending the night together.
Later, Bond sneaks into Drax’s study, only to be followed by Dufour, who warns him to leave the room. Inadvertently, she discloses the safe’s location and watches as Bond photographs its contents.
Unbeknownst to Corinne Dufour, Drax’s henchman, Chang, spots her leaving the study. The next day, after Bond leaves for Venice, Drax summons Dufour during a hunting excursion to inform her that her employment has been terminated due to her role in Bond’s break-in the previous night.
As Dufour leaves, Drax unleashes his trained Doberman Pinschers dogs on her. She runs into the woods, but the dogs catch her and maul her to death. Bond is unaware of her death in the film, but in the novel he’s told by Holly Goodhead while they’re in Venice.
Born on March 23, 1950, in Paris, French actress Corinne Cléry started her career under the name Corinne Piccoli. She quickly gained prominence in the French cinema scene, with her first major role in Joël Le Moigne’s Les Poneyttes at just 17.
Cléry’s portrayal of the titular character in the controversial 1975 film Story of O (Histoire d’O) became one of her most memorable roles. Based on the novel of the same name, the film garnered attention for its depiction of BDSM themes and faced bans in several countries.
In 1979, Cléry joined the James Bond franchise as Corinne Dufour in Moonraker. That same year, she starred in The Humanoid alongside Bond girl Barbara Bach and Richard Kiel, the actor behind Bond villain Jaws. After Moonraker, Cléry appeared in several Italian films, such as Covert Action, Hitch Hike, and the sci-fi flick Yor, the Hunter from the Future.
Corinne Cléry’s acting career flourished into the 21st century, with appearances on Italian television, including a stint on Grande Fratello VIP, Italy’s Celebrity Big Brother. She also starred in the 2018 film Beyond the Mist and the 2021 TV movie Ritorno al Crimine, although her work has slowed down.