Remeeting Tanya with a view to her career…
Many wanted to be her for more than 007 reasons, as she reined in those 80s roles.
Recently, the world hoped for a happier 2021, yet only a few days later the passing of the actress, Tanya Roberts was reported to the press. Many were shocked and stunned, then relieved as shortly after this we were told she was seriously ill in hospital but had not passed away. Then the day after this report, we woke up to her passing, in a cruel twist of fate this had happened not long after the earlier more positive news.
I remembered Tanys Roberts primarily in roles from the eighties. Firstly as one of Charlie Townsend’s all-girl team in the fifth season of TV’s Charlie’s Angels (1980). I also recalled her in films, where she made her mark as a Bond girl, Stacey Sutton in A View to a Kill. These were just two of her most high profile leading roles at this time. Another well known role for her came decades later in That 70s Show, which ironically took her back to the 70s…
Charlie’s Angels (1976-81)
Charlie’s Angels Season 5 Opening Credits, Charlie’s Angels
Tanya Roberts joined the crime-fighting trio in 1980 replacing Shelley Hack in this line up. This for what would be the final season of this TV Series. Roberts character was Julie Rogers, a model and one-time thief from New York and a redhead. Julie had the honour of being the only one of Townsend’s Angels who didn’t graduate from the police academy. Roberts recalls this show was her big break into acting and being the only one upset when the show ended. The rest of the cast had been expecting this news.
Those famous opening credits, as narrated by Charlie (aka Dynasty’s John Forsythe), were changed to accommodate this new Angel’s model career. This as he had formerly said “Once upon a time, there were three little girls who went to the police academy…” to the updated “Once upon a time, there were three beautiful women…” This narration was accompanied by a shot of Roberts with a book on her head, as models do (?) as opposed to a cop outfit like her co-stars Cheryl Ladd and Jaclyn Smith. Angelic Heaven interviewed Roberts and she said the best thing about the show was:
Going to Hawaii and joking around with David Doyle. Doing Charlie’s Angels was a whole new experience and everything was going so fast!
Roberts made an impact on the show, showing she was much more than a pretty face. Her character had a sassy attitude and an ability to kick ass like the best of them, as her fellow angels discovered on meeting her. It was reported that when Roberts joined the team, Spelling had his initial hopes for this series realised. This had Roberts as a redhead in the show, alongside the raven-haired Jaclyn Smith and the blonde, Cheryl Ladd. Notable guest stars of this fifth series included Christopher Lee, Barbie Benton, Jane Wyman and Sonny Bono.
A View to a Kill (1985)
James Bond A VIEW TO A KILL movie clip – Fire Truck Scene, Teaser Trailer, Dailymotion
In the Bond film, A View to a Kill, Tanya Roberts appeared as Stacey Sutton, as one of Roger Moore’s last four (!) Bond girls in his stint as Bond. This film was the fourteenth film of the James Bond film franchise and Moore’s seventh film. This time the actress was a blonde geologist, who is the granddaughter of an oil tycoon, she was thirty at the time of filming. Moore was 57 years, and he felt he was too old for the role.
The bad guy, in this film, was Christopher Walken as an industrialist, Max Zorin who aims to destroy Silicon Valley with the always formidable Grace Jones as his accomplice. This of course with Walken at his best and hamming it up big time. Zorin hopes to create a worldwide microchip monopoly.
Tanya Roberts believed this role as a Bond girl would be her break into movies, saying:
When you’re young and pretty you don’t get On Golden Pond (1981). But if you keep working, good things can happen. Kim Basinger got The Natural (1984) after making a James Bond movie. The same kind of thing could happen to me…
Producer Albert R. Broccoli cast her in the role after he saw her as Kiri in The Beastmaster (1982). The director, John Glen believed she was the most beautiful of the Bond girls he directed, but despite both these accolades, Roberts won a Razzie nomination for her acting as Worst Actress, but she lost. Some of their on-screen moments were apparently ad-libbed by Moore, but she showed a flair for comedy in some of the script.
James Bond: Hello. I thought you might like to join the party. By the way, the name is James St. John Smythe. I’m English.
Stacey Sutton: I never would have guessed.
Other roles included in 1982, when Tanya Roberts starred in episodes of Fantasy Island and The Love Boat. She also starred in a sword and sorcery fantasy The Beastmaster (1982) with Marc Singer. Roberts was also seen in the lead Sheena: Queen of the Jungle (1984). This film was a favourite of Roberts she got to work with wild animals and work in Africa. Interestingly, Bo Derek was considered for both the Sheena and this Bond girl role, with Roberts winning both roles.
Then after a career break, Roberts returned in her much later role in That 70s Show (1998-2004) where she played Midge, the ditzy mother of Donna, one of the series regulars. This role was reportedly Roberts favourite of her roles, with the shown even having a nod to her previous roles in the set design. This with one character having a poster of Charlie’s Angels Farrah Fawcett on his wall.
She left this series for a while to care for her terminally ill husband, then she returned later for a recurring role in this show. Here she got a 10 out of 10, for her supporting role to Tommy Chong as her on-screen husband (later ex-husband), Kitty’s BFF and Donna’s hot mum. As we now remember Tanya as she like her character, Julie Rogers was plucked from a promising model career to go onto roles as Charlie’s Angel, Bond Girl and Midge.