*(on hitting middle age) "I am devastated at what has happened. I have completely disappeared. I am totally invisible. I never really liked my sexy label but on the other hand, to disappear so totally is quite startling."
I don`t go without make-up, though. I rather like that transformation in the morning from "I don`t want to look in the mirror"; then you start pulling yourself together. It`s a rather nice present to yourself that you can still do that.
If I meet a woman who is immaculately groomed, I really admire her discipline. I grew up admiring out-of-this-world screen goddesses, such as Ava Gardner and Rita Hayworth, but I have to acknowledge that I haven`t the patience for getting dressed up very often - at my age you think: "Why bother?" Now that I`m older I don`t go to premieres or first-night parties, not even my own.
I think I was quite daring. I was once escorted out of a restaurant because I was wearing a trouser suit. It wasn`t considered good breeding for a woman to go around in trousers after 6pm, especially in smart restaurants and bars such as the Connaught hotel, which served the best c*cktails.
Society was so much more prudish in the 1960s. In one episode of The Avengers I played a belly dancer and I had to stick a jewel in my navel because the Americans wouldn`t tolerate them. In those days you didn`t flash the boobs at all. What you did do to look glamorous was jack the boobs up and probably wear something quite low-cut.
The leather catsuit I wore in The Avengers was a total nightmare; it took a good 45 minutes to get unzipped to go to the loo. It was like struggling in and out of a wet-suit. Once I got into the jersey catsuits they were very easy to wear but you had to watch for baggy knees; there is nothing worse. I got a lot of very odd fan mail while I was in that show, but my mum used to enjoy replying to it. Some of the men who wrote to me must have been a bit startled because she would offer really motherly advice. I would get a letter from a teenage boy, say, who was overexcited and my mother would write back saying: "My daughter is far too old for you and what you really need is a good run around the block."
I didn`t like my Bond Girl outfits. The designer was a friend of the directors and I thought they were too boring and middle-aged for my character. The right costumes are essential for getting into a part; I`ve witnessed many costume parades with grumpy or even weeping actors because they`ve been put into the wrong thing.
I had an eye job in my early forties. Someone took a photograph of me in a play, after I`d lost a lot of weight, and I did look like Miss Havisham. I thought: "I have to do something - I`m too young to look like this." So I went and had an eyelift once the play was finished, and the doctor said that it would last only about eight years. I imagined after that it would all cave in with a terrible groaning sound, like scaffolding, but it didn`t, and I haven`t had anything done since. I look at women who are my age who look absolutely ravishing and I know they have had something done. Well, why not?
In those days, trousers were appallingly cut for women so I used to go to a gentlemen`s tailor to have them made. Nowadays you can look at some quite highly priced clothes and be astonished at how badly they are finished. But then, people don`t look for that any more, it`s only old bags like me that do. When I need to look smart, I go for Armani because he`s just absolutely brilliant at tailoring. I always dress for myself, not men or other women. I`m well aware of them though - you get the sweep of the eye up and down and I think, "You poor thing, are you so competitive that you have to measure yourself against everyone else?" It`s so pathetic.