Step One: Actress Shirley Eaton is cast as a gold-painted corpse in Goldfinger.
Step Two: Miss Eaton is assured that death from “skin suffocation”, (although probably not entirely certain about it in 1964), is not a likely outcome.
Step Three: Just in case, a doctor is hired to be on set at all times in fear of possible skin suffocation and her stomach is left bare for the same reason.
Step Four: Miss Eaton spends two hours in make-up … (two hours that the painter will never forget as long as he lives).
Step Five: Although the myth of skin suffocation is based mainly on the incorrect belief that ‘respiration occurs, at least in part, through the skin’, there is the worry that skin is the main surface for temperature exchange, and if heat accumulates for too long, locked under the skin, death is a very real possibility. The crew films Miss Eaton’s scenes very, very quickly. It’s a wrap in a morning’s work.
Step Six: After filming, Miss Eaton is scrubbed down by the wardrobe mistress and the make-up girl, and sweated off the remaining gold in a number of Turkish baths…
Step Seven: Presumably for good publicity, a rumor is spread that Shirley Eaton tragically died on set from asphyxiation due to the gold paint, (just like in the movie plot).
Despite the urban myth following the release of Goldfinger in 1964, Eaton is very much alive today and appeared in a 2003 episode of the series MythBusters to debunk the myth once and for all.
Photos by David Hurn, Source: Messy Nessy Chic