Dame Helen Mirren paid tribute to her cousin, Blackpool actress and model Tania Mallet, following her death aged 77.
The Oscar-winner, 73, said Ms Mallet, who starred alongside Sean Connery’s James Bond in the 1964 film Goldfinger in her only appearance on screen before going back to modelling, “showed her Russian heritage in her very beautiful bone structure and eyes”.
She said: “However, she was never vain, but a kind and generous person who used her model earnings to put her half-brothers through school.
“She was a great optimist and always looked on life with positivity.”
Ms Mallet, the daughter of Englishman Henry Mallet and Russian Olga Mironoff, was working as a model when she was cast as Tilly Masterson by Albert “Cubby” Broccoli.
Her death was announced on the official 007 Twitter account late on Sunday. “We are very sorry to hear that Tania Mallet who played Tilly Masterson in GOLDFINGER has passed away,” it said.
Ms Mallet’s character Masterson suffered an iconic on-screen death at the hands of villain Auric Goldfinger’s henchman Oddjob, who broke her neck after throwing his steel-rimmed hat at her.