Claudine Auger, French Star of James Bond Film ‘Thunderball,’ Dies at 78

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French actor Claudine Auger, who broke through internationally with her part opposite Sean Connery in the James Bond film “Thunderball,” has died. She was 78.

Auger’s talent agency Art Time announced the news and said she had died in Paris.

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Auger started her acting career with a small part in the 1958 film “Christine,” in which she starred alongside Romy Schneider and Alain Delon. She then appeared in Jean Cocteau’s 1960 film “Testament Of Orpheus.”

She was the first French actress to be cast as a “Bond girl” in a movie with the dashing British spy, years ahead of Lea Seydoux, Sophie Marceau, Eva Green and Carole Bouquet. In 1965’s “Thunderball,” she played “Domino,” a femme fatale and mistress of Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi) who falls in love with Bond and helps him bring down a criminal organization. She reportedly won the role over Raquel Welch, Faye Dunaway and Julie Christie.

Some of Auger’s few international credits include the spy movie “Triple Cross,” directed by “Thunderball” helmer Terence Young, and the British TV show “The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.” She also starred in several films directed by Jacques Deray: “L’homme de Marrakech,” “Un peu de soleil dans l’eau froide” and “Un papillon sur l’épaule.”

She was married as a young woman to the filmmaker Pierre Gaspard-Huit, who first directed her in “Christine,” and she later married the British businessman Peter Brent.

Before she became an actress, Auger was a model and became Miss Cinemonde in 1957 and Miss World in 1958, winning the longest-running international beauty pageant.

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