RIP Tanya Roberts

Actress Tanya Roberts has died. Best known for her roles as a Bond girl and on That ’70s Show, Roberts died Sunday after a brief hospitalization. She was 65. The actress reportedly took her dogs for a walk on Christmas Eve, and collapsed upon returning home, according to TMZ. She was put on a ventilator after being hospitalized, but never recovered. The outlet reports that the actress did not appear to be ill in the days leading up to her collapse, and that her death is not related to COVID-19. However, additional information was not available.

Born Victoria Leigh Blum, she changed her stage name to Tanya Roberts. . She was best known for playing Stacey Sutton in the James Bond film A View to a Kill (1985) and Midge Pinciotti on That ’70s Show (1998–2004). Roberts was born in 1955 in the Bronx, New York City, the second child of her father, of Irish descent, and a Jewish mother. She relocated from New York with her mother to live in Toronto for several years, where she started formulating a photo portfolio and laying plans for a modeling career. Her career began as a model in TV ads for Excedrin, Ultra Brite, Clairol, and Cool Ray sunglasses. She played serious roles in the off-Broadway productions Picnic and Antigone.  She also supported herself as an Arthur Murray dance instructor. She met & later married  psychology student Barry Roberts. Her film debut was the horror film Forced Entry (1975). This was followed by the comedy film The Yum-Yum Girls (1976).

In 1977, as her husband was securing his own screenwriting career, the couple moved to Hollywood. The following year, Roberts participated in the drama Fingers. In 1979 Roberts appeared in the cult movie Tourist Trap, and also in Racquet, and California Dreaming. Roberts was featured in several television pilots that were not picked up: Zuma Beach (a 1978 comedy), Pleasure Cove (1979), and Waikiki (1980). Roberts was chosen in the summer of 1980 from some 2,000 candidates to replace Shelley Hack in the fifth season of the detective television series Charlie’s Angels on ABC. Roberts played Julie Rogers, a streetwise fighter who used her fists more than her gun. Producers hoped Roberts’ presence would revitalize the series’ declining ratings and regenerate media interest in the series. Before the season’s premiere, Roberts was featured on the cover of People magazine with a headline asking if Roberts would be able to save the declining series from cancellation.

Roberts played Kiri in the adventure fantasy film The Beastmaster (1982), which included a topless swimming scene. She was featured in a nude pictorial in Playboy to help promote the movie, appearing on that issue’s October 1982 cover. In 1983, Roberts filmed the Italian-made adventure fantasy film Hearts and Armour. She portrayed Velda, a buxom secretary to private detective Mike Hammer, in the television movie Murder Me, Murder You (1983). The two-part pilot spawned the syndicated television series Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. She declined to continue the role in the Mike Hammer series to work on her next project, Sheena: Queen of the Jungle (1984). The movie was a box office and critical disaster, garnering her a nomination for “Worst Actress” at the Razzie Awards.

Roberts subsequently appeared as Bond girl Stacey Sutton, a geologist, in A View to a Kill (1985). She again found herself nominated by the critics for a Razzie Award. Other 1980s films include Night Eyes, an erotic thriller; Body Slam (1987), an action movie set in the professional wrestling world, and Purgatory, a movie about a woman wrongfully imprisoned in Africa. Roberts starred in the erotic thriller Inner Sanctum (1991) alongside Margaux Hemingway. In 1992, she played Kay Egan in Sins of Desire. She appeared on the cable series Hot Line in 1994; and in the video game The Pandora Directive in 1996. In 1998, Roberts took the role of Midge Pinciotti on the television sitcom That ’70s Show. Roberts revealed on E! True Hollywood Story that she left the series in 2001 because her husband had become terminally ill.

Roberts was married to husband Barry Roberts from 1974 until his death in 2006. They had no children. Roberts resided in Hollywood Hills, California.

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