Bond girl Tanya Roberts is still alive, says publicist who reported she had died

Tanya Roberts is said to be in grave condition for an unspecified illness. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (NEW YORK TIMES) - Hours after announcing the death of Tanya Roberts, the actress known for starring opposite Roger Moore in his final turn as James Bond and for her roles in Charlie's Angels and That '70s Show, her publicist said on Monday (Jan 4) that he had done so in error.

The publicist, Mike Pingel, said in an interview on Monday night that Roberts, 65, was hospitalised at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and in grave condition for an unspecified illness.

The information contradicted earlier accounts that Pingel had given to several media outlets that had reported that Roberts had died.

Pingel said that he had relied on information from Lance O'Brien, whom he identified as Roberts' partner and husband.

"It's a human miscommunication, unfortunately," Pingel said. "People have been writing beautiful, amazing stories on her. It's a shame this happened."

Pingel declined to discuss details of Roberts' medical condition, which he said was not related to Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. But he told The Associated Press that she had collapsed at her home in late December.

Among the media organisations that had reported Roberts was dead based on information from her publicist were The Associated Press, USA Today, the website TMZ and The Hollywood Reporter.

Roberts, who was born in the Bronx, in New York City, scored her first big break as an actress in 1980 playing a detective on the final season of the television series Charlie's Angels.

Her biggest success on the big screen came in 1985, when, despite being 28 years younger than the leading man of the Bond franchise, Roberts starred opposite Moore in A View To A Kill.

It was the final appearance of Moore as the British spy, one that he later criticised for the age gap between himself and Roberts, who is known for her breathy voice.

From 1998 to 2004, Roberts introduced herself to a new generation of television viewers with her recurring role as Midge Pinciotti on That '70s Show.

The reporting of Roberts' death prompted a series of tributes on social media, including from fans of the Bond franchise.

Her name unexpectedly and erroneously joined those of recently lost stars associated with the franchise, including Sean Connery, the dashing Scot who first played Ian Fleming's secret service agent, who died last October. British actress Diana Rigg, who marries Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service and is killed on their wedding day, died last September.

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