Life With Honor

If you are married to Cathy Gale - sorry, Honor Blackman - is life anything like the judo type existence she live in The Avengers? Or how do you keep that outside the front door? In this interview with SHELLEY WEAVER Honor's husband, actor Maurice Kaufmann, gives the answer to these questions. Peter Bolton took the pictures.

THE AVENGERS, said actor Maurice Kaufmann wryly, governs our life.

He was sitting in a viewing room at the ITV studios at Teddington, chain-smoking - and waiting for the showing of an episode of the Saturday evening series which stars his wife, Honor Blackman.

"We hardly see each other these days," he explained. "If it were just the rehearsing and the programme it would not be so bad. But it is everything else that comes with her success at Cathy Gale.

"Fittings for clothes, photographic sessions, interviews, conferences. There is no end to it."

Maurice Kaufmann had been at the studios all day, watching his wife rehearse, waiting for her to finish that week's episode. He is currently making a film and most days leaves their flat in Fulham just before seven each morning.

"Honor is still asleep then so I creep round and get myself a cup of tea and a bite to eat. I get home about six in the evening but Honor is seldom home before eight.

"Then there are our scripts to go through. I always work through The Avengers with her and she goes through my parts with me.

That's where so many married couples in a situation like ours go wrong. They don't share. They don't take an interest in each other. We do. We work together the whole time. We see everything the other one does. We talk about it, advise each other."

Maurice went on: "But Honor is so serious. She is a real professional. She worries like mad. She thinks of little else but her part and it takes up so very much of her time. I worry too, but not the way she does."

He seemed to be able to share deeply in his wife's success. He was interested in it because it had become a part of her, a way of life.

"Sometimes they work her like a man," he explained. "I have to put my foot down and tell her to slow up.

"She would never dream of ringing up to say that she could not go into the studios, no matter what she was feeling like. So I have to play and do it for her."

Maurice takes with good humour the barrage of cracks from other men about being married to the girl who has become television's "glamour toughie." "You would not believe some of the things people say to me.

"They seem to think that she acts the judo-throwing Cathy Gale at home. They seem frightened of her."

He has learned to come to terms with the envy, the curiosity, the interest of other men. He is amused by it. He refuses to be irritated by it or to resent it.

"Of course I don't resent any of this," he states quite calmly. "Why should I? Honor was an actress when I married her. I knew what I was doing. I would never expect her or ask her to give it up.

"We both want children one day. Honor would make a marvellous mother. But we have not made any plans for a family."

Maurice Kaufmann is obviously one of this wife's greatest fans, able to enjoy her part in The Avengers as much as she does, participating in her acting life and identifying himself with her career as if it were his own.

"When we go to parties it is really very amusing. The men get so aggressive." He said. "Some of them - particularly when they have had a bit to drink - seem to resent the way Cathy Gale can take care of herself. It takes away their male ego.

"They identify Honor with Cathy Gale so they take it out on her. And she always rises to the bait and gets aggressive back.

"I have to get between them. With us it's the husband stopping the wife having a fight - not the other way around.

"In point of fact the only way that The Avengers has changed Honor as a person is to give her more confidence. At home, of course, she is just about the most feminine woman I have ever known.

"Her complete femininity is staggering and is one of the secrets of her success.

"But," Maurice declared: "Judo I draw the line at. It is too dangerous."

Sunday is the one day that Maurice and Honor have together. During the week the meals that Honor cooks have to be simple and quick. Her husband often helps with the shopping. "I quite enjoy it," he says.

"On Sunday we just mooch around the flat and read the papers. Honor cooks something that I really enjoy like roast lamb or Boeuf Bourgignon.

"For the past eighteen months we have been house-hunting every Sunday afternoon and at last we think we have found somewhere. At the moment we are in Honor's flat."

The couple were married nearly two years ago after they met - in a West End play called "Point of Honour."

As the viewing room darkened in preparation for the showing of The Avengers Maurice repeated: "We do share everything. And we try to get as much time together as possible.

"I am not saying I would not take a really good part that meant going away - if it were really good. I have been offered one recently with a foreign location which I might have take if I had been single.

"But Honor has given me a home life. And that is something that I have never had before."

As the new episode of the series flashed on to the set he turned all his attention to his wife on the screen. And when Cathy Gale, in full black leather fighting kit, battled with the villain, her husband squirmed and wriggled in his seat like a kid at a Saturday matinee of blood and thunder.

When the show was over Maurice was quick to congratulate Honor.

She looked up at him seriously. "Was it really all right?" she asked. "You were marvellous, darling." he said.

NEXT WEEK: How many minutes in a week - or where does Honor's time go?

From: The TV Times, England, November 8th 1963.

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