Tanya Roberts Says Goodbye
She was a “Charlie’s Angel” in the hit TV show’s final season, which ran from 1976-1981. She was a “Bond girl.” Roberts played beside Sir Roger Moore in his seventh and last appearance as James Bond. Tanya Roberts made Moore look so very old and critics lambasted Moore for clinging to the role, but the film, “A View to a Kill” (1985), did well and Roberts went on to make more movies and to star in “That ‘70s Show.”
In both the Bond film and in “Charlie’s Angels,” she posed with handguns as if they were designer handbags—things to be shown off as representative of status, sophistication and independence. Worse, in the press photos, she holds a Walther PPK with her finger on the trigger. This isn’t how guns are, or should be, handled in real life, but don’t hold that against her—at least too much. She was a young woman who made guns, and all the freedom they represent, to appear cool.
Possibly she was pro-Second Amendment, though, given her Hollywood pedigree and the way she handled guns in her roles, it is more likely the wasn’t. Searches of her many bios didn’t reveal her opinion on the subject. But we mention her passing here anyway, because her roles as a self-empowered woman came at a time when more women began to get concealed-carry permits as they demanded their autonomy.
So, though the term “Bond girl” might now be politically incorrect, and her views may or may not have been virulently anti-gun, she was nevertheless a strong and still very feminine role model for young women.
In the mid-1980s only about one million Americans had concealed-carry permits. Today, about 20 million citizens do (this isn’t counting the millions who live in states that now don’t require permits to carry concealed). Today, an increasing percentage of people who chose to carry their freedom are women.
Whatever the Hollywood power players responsible for her iconic roles wanted, they gave us an alluring Tanya Roberts silhouetted in posters to promote for “A View to a Kill” with her holding a Walther PPK. In the film, Roberts pulls out a Remington Model 31 shotgun to intimidate James Bond (Roger Moore). She also uses a fire extinguisher to knock out a bad guy who was wielding a Colt Model 1911.
Cultural icons like these matter. They do influence how people think. They can make things hip or taboo. If Roberts minded playing the heroine with the gun, she wasn’t vociferous about her distaste. She played along and gave us spectacular characters to remember.
As this was being written, it was unclear what illness ended her life at only 65 years old. Still, we have much to thank her for.
Article by Frank Miniter