Tanya Roberts, the glamorous actor who starred opposite Roger Moore in the 1985 Bond film A View to a Kill, has died aged 65, it has been reported. Roberts’ death had been mistakenly announced by her representative Mike Pingel on Sunday, leading to multiple news organisations, including the Guardian, to report it, before a retraction was issued a day later.
Now Roberts’ partner Lance O’Brien is reported to have said he was informed by staff at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles that Roberts died on Monday evening. O’Brien had reportedly mistakenly informed Pingel of her death on Sunday, leading to inaccurate media reports.
The Sun quoted O’Brien as saying Roberts died from an unspecified illness that began with a urinary tract infection, and subsequently affected her kidneys, liver and gall bladder. He also said Roberts had collapsed at home in Los Angeles.
O’Brien said that he believed Roberts had died on Sunday after visiting her in hospital, and told Pingel, who announced it to the media. However, while being filmed by the TV show Inside Edition, O’Brien received a call on Monday from the hospital saying that Roberts was alive.
Cedars-Sinai Hospital has not commented, citing patient confidentiality.
Roberts’ best-known film role was in A View to a Kill, where she played geologist Stacey Sutton, Bond’s principal love interest and a key ally in the battle against Christopher Walken’s villainous industrialist Max Zorin. By then she had already consolidated her on-screen appeal by appearing in the 1980-81 season of detective series Charlie’s Angels, taking over from Shelley Hack as one of the three title characters.
Born Victoria Leigh Blum, Roberts carved out a career as a model before moving to Hollywood with her screenwriter husband, Barry Roberts. She secured a string of small roles, including James Toback’s 1978 drama Fingers and waxwork slasher Tourist Trap. After winning the Charlie’s Angels role her profile increased, and she was cast as slave girl Kiri in cult fantasy-horror The Beastmaster (1982) and as the title role in the Tarzan-style adventure Sheena: Queen of the Jungle, released in 1984 and which has also become a cult film despite its disastrous initial reception.
Roberts disliked the “Bond girl” label, telling the Daily Mail that it pigeonholed her as a “dumb, glamorous broad” and that “the reason most Bond girls don’t go on to have careers [is] because people just don’t take them seriously”. But she said she did not regret taking the role: “At the time I didn’t know what I know now, and to be honest, who would turn that role down, really? Nobody would … I was very young and I did what I felt was the right choice to make.”
A View to a Kill did not, as Roberts correctly suggested, lead to a career transformation: she found herself playing in “erotic thrillers” such as Night Eyes, Inner Sanctum, and Sins of Desire, and TV series such as Hot Line (also with an “erotic” slant).
However, in 1998 she was cast in a long-running role in retro sitcom That ’70s Show, as dim-bulb Midge Pinciotti, appearing in more than 80 episodes. Her husband’s terminal illness, and subsequent death in 2006, led her to retire from acting.