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20 December 2019 14:39

Claudine Auger Thunderball Sean Connery

French actress Claudine Auger, noted for her role as Dominique "Domino" Derval in James Bond film Thunderball, has died at the age of 78. The news was announced by her agency Time Art, which said she died in Paris on Thursday (December 20), as reported by numerous French press. No cause of death was disclosed. Auger began her acting career in France when Jean Cocteau cast her in a small role in his 1960 pic Testament Of Orpheus. At the age of 18, she married the French filmmaker Pierre Gaspard-Huit, who was 43 at the time, and he cast her in several of his films including his 1958 film Christine in which she appeared alongside Romy Schneider and Alain Delon.

Her big break came when she landed the role of Domino in Thunderball, the fourth pic in the James Bond franchise in which she starred with Sean Connery, playing the mistress of arch villain Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi). Auger's role in the pic had initially been intended for an Italian actress, but casting directors were so impressed by her that the part was rewritten to be French. While her career never solidified in the U.S., she did go on to star in spy movie Triple Cross (also directed by Thunderball helmer Terence Young) with Yul Brynner and Christopher Plummer. Auger would continue to act steadily in European film and TV until the mid 1990s. In one of her later roles, she appeared in a 1994 episode of Brit TV show The Memoirs Of Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett.

After divorcing from Gaspard-Huit, she married UK businessman Peter Brent in the 1980s, having one child and remaining with him until he died in 2008. The official James Bond twitter reacted to the news today, posting this tribute: Claudine Auger, French star of James Bond film 'Thunderball,' dies at 78 Auger was the first French actress to be cast as a "Bond girl" in a movie with the dashing British spy. French actress Claudine Auger, known for James Bond role, dead at 78 French actress Claudine Auger, known for her role in a James Bond film, has died at 78, the official James Bond Twitter account shared. The BBC and Agence France-Presse also reported the news, citing an announcement from her agency, Art Time. Auger was best known for role in the 1965 film "Thunderball," where she played one of the first Bond girls, Dominique "Domino" Derval alongside Sean Connery's 007.

The outlets report that Domino was originally written as an Italian character, but was changed to French for Auger. She is also known for the 1980 film "Fantastica" and the French television series "Le théâtre de la jeunesse," which ran from 1960 to 1968. She starred in the project in 1961. Before her acting career, Auger was a model and pageant girl, the outlets report. She represented France as the first runner-up in Miss World in 1958.

USA TODAY has reached out to Art Time for comment. More: Every James Bond film ranked from worst to best More: 'Walking Dead' stuntman John Bernecker: Jury awards $8.6M to estate in damages Sean Connery, Claudine Auger and Adolfo Celi in Thunderball (Credit: Mario De Biasi/Mondadori via Getty Images) Claudine Auger, who starred alongside Sean Connery in Bond classic Thunderball, has died at the age of 78. The French actress played Domino in the 1965 movie, after being spotted while on holiday in Nassau in the Bahamas, by the movie's writer, Kevin McClory. Scroll to continue with content Ad Read more: Sam Mendes talks 'stomach churning' Bond movies Auger was born in Paris in 1941, and began acting in movies while still in school. She was crowned Miss France in 1958, and was also runner up in the Miss World contest the same year. Andy Warhol, Andrea Ferreol and Claudine Auger attend the presentation of Enrico Coveri's Haute Couture fashion collection. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images) After marrying writer and director Pierre Gaspard-Huit at 18, he began casting her in movies like Musketeer movie Le Masque de Fer (The Man in the Iron Mask) in 1962 and Kali Yug: Goddess of Vengeance in 1963. She also starred in war movie Triple Cross in 1966 opposite Christopher Plummer and Yul Brynner. Read more: First No Time To Die trailer lands But it was her role in Thunderball in 1965 for which she's best known, which was followed by a starring role in 1968 opposite another Bond girl, Ursula Andress, in the comedy Anyone Can Play. Later in her career, she appeared in the classic UK series of Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett.