The Assistant was the unnamed assistant/secretary to Karl Stromberg and a supporting character in 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. Portrayed by British actress Marilyn Galsworthy, the character also appeared in in Christopher Wood's accompanying novelization and was given the name Kate Chapman.
In the film, Karl Stromberg is meeting with a pair of scientists, Dr. Bechmann and Professor Markovitz. Both invented a secret submarine tracking system and Stromberg summoned them to tell them that they had been paid. However, the businessman know that someone has been trying to sell the plans to competing world powers and that only someone close to the project could have done so. He suspects so his assistant. At the moment, the assistant is in the room talking notes on the meeting for his boss but Stromberg requests her to leave the dining room. The assistant enters the elevator but Stromberg presses a button which makes the floor give away and she falls into a shark tank while a tannoy of Stromberg calling saying that it was her who betrayed him, selling out his information and she is going to pay the penalty. The shark swims after her and she is eaten by it. This leaves a lasting impression on Bechmann and Markovitz who are forced to watch this.
Later, when James Bond poses as marine biologist Robert Sterling to meet with Stromberg, he notices the assistant's chewed off arm at the bottom of a fish tank.
In the novel, her name is Kate Chapman. She is a beautiful, tall and slim young brunette in her mid-late 20's who is working as a discreet secretary for Stromberg. However, she sold her boss's film on the black market for her own profit and her boss decides to make her pay a terrible price for this.
While she is quietly taking notes for her boss during his meeting with Markovitz and Bechmann, wearing a pretty black dress with a little white collar, she is asked by Stromberg to go to a secret room which is supposed to contain a safe. The sexy secretary promptly obeys the order and graciously goes to the room. However, the room is totally empty. Confused, the young woman startles when she gets locked in it by the door behind her in a loud noise. Thinking of a technical problem, she tries to push a button but nothing happens, making her laugh nervously. Kate begins to worry a little bit for herself when the wall in front of her starts to slowly rise. She is then astonished to be put face to face with an enormous glass wall with tons of water and fishes behind it and starts to panic, thinking that the glass could possibly break on her. While having a really bad feeling about the situation, the young woman tries to calm herself out loud, thinking her boss would not take her in a dangerous place. She wonders what could be happening to her and where she could be, trying to believe that she is worrying for nothing and that everything will be fine for her. It had to be a simple mistake and she will be out of this room in a few minutes, she just has to stay calm.
After taking a deep breathe, she scrutinizes the room, looking for any exit button or emergency system when suddenly, the secretary distinguishes a really big shadow approaching amongst the fishes. Disconcerted, Kate crinkles her pretty eyes to figure out what it is while the thing is getting closer. Her heart almost skips a beat when she realizes it is an enormous shark. The girl shrinks back with terror, screams and her slim body starts to tremble with fear while she begins to understand this could really be a punishment from her boss for something wrong she did, but she doesn't get what. Even if she knows she has insignifiant rank and responsabilities in the organization, she considers herself as a quite satisfying secretary since she has been working for Stromberg. The shark is now getting closer and is soon violently hitting the glass with its nose, making the scared girl yell, her face drawn with fear. She then falls to her knees and starts to sob histerically while looking at the shark's terrifying rows of jagged teeth, wondering what she could do to avoid finishing torn apart by this horrific fish. The assistant was strongly hoping she was just in her bed dreaming some bad dreams, but she could clearly feel her heart beating furiously in her chest as she has never been so frightened in her entire life. On her knees, helpless and trembling, she keeps staring at the horrible shark, her breathing becoming short and cramped, wondering what this nightmare meant, if she was really going to die that young in the next minutes and how painful would it be. The monstruous fish keeps hitting on it again and again, looking at her with its voracious eyes. The terrified Kate closes her finely made-up eyes and thinks about what she has done wrong in her young life to deserve that. Still trembling with fear, she questions herself. What is happening to her ? And why has it to be to herself, Kate Chapman, and not to someone else ? She desperately tries to think that the glass is not going to break. She is a young and beautiful woman that has her whole life ahead. It can't be her time to die...
The glass suddenly starts to crack in a big noise. Totally horrified, the poor girl yells, quickly scrambles to her feet and tries to push the cracking glass with her manicured hands, but of course she cannot stop anything. She can already feels the cold water falling on her glamorous high heels and tears quickly come to Chapman's beautiful brown eyes, making her mascara running down her panicked face. While the water drives her skirt above her lovely legs and soft thighs, she screams words with no meaning, imploring for help while no one can listen to her and realizing with fright that she is really going to loose her life in this horrible and painful end in a few seconds without even knowing the reason of it. She now knows that she is doomed.
A louder then activates. For a second, Chapman briefly hopes that it is something to save her, but then Stromberg's voice tells the crying secretary that she is going to pay the highest penalty for what she did with the film. In tears and shocked, the pretty brunette vainly tries to deny it, screams useless words of apology that no one can hear and begs her boss for an impossible leniency that could spare her life. Between loud sobs, she shouts that she is totally sorry and swears she will do everything she can do to fix her mistake, that she has always been a very dutiful and devoted secretary who doesn't deserve to pay such a price and that it is unfair to kill her just for that after all the hard work she has done without flinching, but her cruel fate is already sealed. Unfair or not, the unfortunate Kate won't be given any second chance and the water is already above her firm breasts, reaching her glossy brown hair. Cursing herself for what she did with the film just for money, the girl now hysterically yells that she is too young and doesn't want to die but it quickly rises above her supplicant and terrified face, and the sharks plunges to eat the young woman. Kate desperately tries to swim as fast as she can to save her life, but the shark is way faster and quickly arrives on her.
In the other room, Stromberg and his two shocked associates are looking at Miss Chapman's merciless punishment on a screen. The shark has the poor young girl by the thigh and is worrying her to the bone, making her scream like hell, when the leg comes away from her body. Then, they see the shark putting its teeth around Kate's waist, while she is apparently still alive, barely holding on for her dear life, howling in extreme pain under the water and trying to push away the animal's head. They could read on the girl's sorrowful face that she was enduring a really awful agony, when the sharks definitely kills her by tearing her body in two in a thick red cloud of blood under Stromberg's approving eye.
- The assistant has no lines (she did cry out for help in some versions) in the film.
- She is similar to Helga Brandt in You Only Live Twice.
- They both are beautiful assistants to a villain (Stromberg for the assistant/Osato for Helga).
- They both fed to carnivious animals (the assistant was fed to a shark/Brandt was fed to pirahnas).