Shirley Eaton (born January 13, 1937) is a British actress who appeared in many British black and white comedies in the 1950s and onwards.
She was born in London and raised in the suburb of Harrow Weald. Throughout her career, she appeared with many of the top British male comedy stars from the period including Jimmy Edwards, Max Bygraves, Bob Monkhouse and Arthur Askey. Her female co-stars included Peggy Mount, Thora Hird and Dora Bryan among others.
However, undoubtedly Eaton’s most famous role was that of Jill Masterson in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger. Her character’s death, being painted head to toe in gold paint and suffering “skin suffocation”, became an iconic image of the film and inadvertently led to the creation of a popular belief concerning both the method of death and the actress’s own fate. Eaton, very much alive, later appeared in a 2003 episode of the TV documentary series MythBusters to help debunk the belief. However, it should be said that Margaret Nolan, not Eaton, was actually the golden girl who appeared in the film’s well known advertising campaign and title sequence; she, however, is also still alive.
Eaton expressed no regrets in giving up show business while at the height of her fame. In a 1999 interview with Steve Swires of Starlog Magazine, Eaton said: “A career is a career, but you’re a mother until you die.”