Star of Bond film, A View to a Kill. Dead, aged 65.
I only jump the dead celeb bandwagon occasionally. If I make an exception? It’s because they count. And on that very note, Tanya Roberts’ death is shocking news. Totally unexpected. Heart-breaking, in fact.
The girl had beauty, charm, comic timing, action credentials and screen presence. A secretive smile, a telling laugh, feline eyes and elegant poise. Tanya interacted with her fans, right to the end: a pioneer of the weekly web-chat, itself a great help to many during lockdown.
Her Bond girl was important to the pantheon. Years before #metoo, Tanya played Stacey Sutton in A View to a Kill. This was the final Bond film from Sir Roger Moore. Notice the character she plays is a geologist, on her own quest for vengeance against the villains. She does not fall into bed with Bond and the seduction is gradual, tender, intimate, romantic, gentle. James cooks for and counsels her.
Yes, there is an age gap but it’s not obscene by any means. Indeed, one could, at a push, see a kind of subtext whereby Tanya’s Stacey is helping Roger’s 007 transition from old to new world politics, as a nice retirement is on the horizon after a final mission.
John Barry’s moving score helps aid that motif. ‘Wine with Stacey’ is a hauntingly beautiful track. And as backing? Well: Few, if any, other Bond girls, shout ‘JAAAAAMMMMESSSS’ quite like Stacey! Adorable. And among my favourites.
Other roles included Beast-Master and a recurring slot on That 70s Show. Tanya was among the last of the television batch of the Charlie’s Angels.
Her comedic talents proved an asset to the sex / conception farce, Almost Pregnant (also featuring the equally lovely Joan Severance). There were, of course, erotic thrillers. Tanya, much like Shannon Tweed or Tane McClure and Andrew Stevens, was instrumental in defining those generally straight to video, Friday night /Blockbuster video/Channel 5 products.
Fellow Bond veteran (and best baddie ever), Robert Davi co-starred on at least one occasion.
They arguably provided as much, if not more, pulp thrills than their cinematic counterpart. Interestingly, too: Christopher Nolan would go onto hire Wally Pfister as his cinematographer.
Pfister’s name crops up regularly in those 1990s glossy firelit sexy fantasies in which Tanya, Shannon and Tane were the frequent stars. And you can kind of see the lighting and spacing patterns recurring across genre and budget (look at The Dark Knight: Harvey Dent’s office; pure 90s Blockbuster top shelf, just without the sex stuff).
Tanya Roberts was adored by her fans, friends, family and animals. Her death is a shock and she will be much missed. But as always with these things, the death is notable, simply because the life was well lived and leaves a lastingly loving legacy.