Monday, 1 October 2007

Miss Moneypenny

On the job, we knew her as Lois Maxwell, Toronto Sun columnist.

Bond, James Bond, and the rest of the world who saw her in 14 James Bond movies knew her as Miss Moneypenny.

Toronto Sun Family members who shared the newsroom with Lois for 15 years, fellow actors and movie fans everywhere learned yesterday she died from cancer Saturday in Perth, Australia.

The Canadian-born columnist and radio, movie and television actress was 80, but she is forever young in her movies.

A Canadian Press report in the Toronto Star last night said her death, not far from her home in Perth, was first announced by the BBC in London.

Lois was Miss Moneypenny long before Sun publisher Doug Creighton hired her in 1979 to write a weekly column. She was secretary to M, the head of the secret service, from the start of the Bond film franchise in 1962, with Sean Connery in Dr. No.

Lois was still appearing in Bond films when hired by the Sun and her weekly columns would often be about her movie experiences and her globe-trotting lifestyle.

"Her feature was a favorite for many and she was sorely missed when she finally retired from writing for the Toronto Sun in 1994," says an online profile.

Have to admit we were awed seeing Miss Moneypenny in the Sun newsroom. She was not the only widely-recognized Sun celebrity, but it was so cool to know she had rubbed elbows with Sean and subsequent Bonds.

(Her Bond movies: Dr. No (1962); From Russia With Love (1963); Goldfinger (1964); Thunderball (1965); You Only Live Twice (1967); On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969); Diamonds Are Forever (1971); Live and Let Die (1973); The Man With the Golden Gun (1974); The Spy Who Loved Me (1977); Moonraker (1979); For Your Eyes Only (1981); Octopussy1983); A View To A Kill (1985).

And then they dumped our Miss Moneypenny for Caroline Bliss, a much younger actress. No respect.

Lois, a 1940s Golden Globe winner, made her exit from the Bond series in 1985 at age 58, saying farewell to James in A View to Kill, but continued acting. Her final film, in 2001, was The Fourth Angel, with Jeremy Irons.

(Other well-known Sun employees over the years include John McDermott, the Irish singer who was Doug Creighton's favourite singer at social gatherings; Brian Linehan, the celebrated celebrity interviewer; Brian Vallee, the best-selling author and documentary producer.)

So where was the Toronto Sun on this Lois Maxwell story? As of 4 a.m. today, there were more than 240 related stories about Lois' death on Google and the Sun was not among them.

Some of the stories had been posted 16 hours earlier, so where was the much-hyped Toronto Sun web site while news agencies around the world were posting it online.

The Los Angeles Times, the CBC, the BBC, ABC in Australia the Citizen in South Africa, Toronto Star, New York Times, the Guardian, Fox News, etc. etc. etc. beat the Sun online. had a CP story online Sunday night, but it did not mention Lois was a Toronto Sun columnist and there were no comments from former Sun colleagues.

Sometimes, the Sun leaves us speechless.


  1. I'd love to read some of the Moneypenny columns and have tried searching the Toronto Sun site with no success. Can anyone point me in the right direction to find these online? Much appreciated!

  2. Just like Kate said, How about old Moneypenny articles? The lady was fascinating.

  3. try the Toronto Library on Yonge st - they have most newspapers including The Tor Sun on microfilm -