Wrote the below and then word came that… well, read on…
The shocking news that actor Tanya Roberts passed away at the very young age of 65 made the news yesterday (you can read about that here). She apparently walked her dogs and when she returned to her home collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, where she would pass away.
Most of the obituaries I’ve read concerning Ms. Roberts note she was Stacey Sutton, the “Bond girl” in Roger Moore’s final James Bond film, 1985’s A View To A Kill (Tanya Roberts first appears at the 1:33 mark of the below trailer)…
She was certainly an 80’s figure, with her other two big roles, in the 1982 film Beastmaster…
…and in 1984 she would star as Sheena:
Later on she would make her mark in That 70’s Show as Midge Pinciotti…
I think its fair to say that her earlier works, now cult classics to some, nostalgia trips to others, weren’t all that good. It’s fair to say that A View To A Kill is the worst of the Roger Moore Bond films and among the worst of the Bond films, period. Few, too, would say Sheena is some lost classic while there are those who feel Beastmaster is a deserving Cult classic.
I say this not to put down Ms. Roberts, but quite the contrary. There’s something about the presence alone of Ms. Roberts in those films that make them memorable. One could point out the obvious: She is one beautiful woman, and the roles in both Sheena and Beastmaster in particular allowed her ample opportunity to show off that beauty.
In fact, when the news of her passing came, I instantly thought back to her roles in these films as well as The 70’s Show and my memories of her, frankly, were positive.
Yeah, maybe the 80’s material wasn’t always very strong and the film’s makers wanted a beautiful female in nearly no clothing running around, but there have been plenty of films like that made whose star isn’t quite as well remembered as Ms. Roberts, which suggests there was indeed more to her than just the proverbial pretty face.
As one gets older, the people in the arts one grows up with also grow older and, eventually, pass away.
Tanya Roberts’ passing at 65 is shocking as when I think about her my memories of her transport me back to that beautiful, athletic woman she was back in the 1980’s.
I hope she had a terrific life.
I may have to give A View To A Kill another whirl, for old time’s sake.
Now there’s news that… Tanya Roberts in not dead?!
This is according to TMZ:
Very weird, but concerning for Ms. Roberts nonetheless. She’s been hospitalized for over a week. I hope she recovers… assuming this second story is accurate!
Now more news sources are confirming that Tanya Roberts is indeed alive, something which might explain my confused (and not totally sure!) original Postscript.
What a weird, weird story, though I have to admit I’m glad to hear that she’s not passed away. Still, what I said in that Postscript applies: Clearly she’s in some kind of major distress as she’s been hospitalized for over a week now.
Still, best wishes to her!
Sadly, now comes news (12/5/21) that Tanya Roberts has indeed passed away. This is coming from TMZ:
Frankly, I feared this would be the case. If memory serves, something similar happened with musician Tom Petty who was rushed to the hospital and was declared dead only for the news agencies to retract the story as he was still alive but basically vegetative.
I recall my daughter wondering if he’d recover and I told her based on the initial reports, that sounded doubtful. Mr. Petty would pass away a day or two after the initial hospitalization.
As I said, I feared Ms. Roberts was not in great shape. To be hospitalized so suddenly and remain there for over a week sounded grim. I suspect the publicist who released the initial report of her death knew she was about to pass and knew there was little chance of her recovery.
That’s guessing on my part, I admit.
Regardless, what I wrote initially stands. Ms. Roberts may not have been in the very best films during her biggest period of time in Hollywood, but she had a screen presence and to this day is remembered when many similar actresses in similar roles today are not.
She was a part of my youth, a face that was familiar to me and a beauty in the classic Hollywood tradition.
Rest In Peace.