Irma Bunt (Ilse Steppat)

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Irma Bunt is a close aide of SPECTRE chief Ernst Stavro Blofeld. She first appears in the Ian Fleming novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service and went on to appear in his subsequent novel, You Only Live Twice.

The character subsequently appeared in the 1969 film adaptation of On Her Majesty's Secret Service portrayed by German actress Ilse Steppat. The role was Steppat's first English speaking part; it would also prove to be her last.

Film biography

Irma Bunt resides at the mountain-top clinic of Piz Gloria with Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Bunt is first introduced at a train station taking Bond up to the clinic by sleigh and helicopter while he is disguised as Sir Hilary Bray. She ostensibly looks after the girls who are suffering allergies – and secretly being brainwashed into 'angels of death' – and has dinner with them and 'Sir Hilary'.

A red-haired disciplinarian in the mold of Rosa Klebb, Bunt is determined to keep any fraternizing between 'Sir Hilary' and the girls kept to a minimum. Bond himself subtly insults her by telling her that her name comes from a nautical word for the baggy, swollen part of a sail.

When Bond escapes from Piz Gloria after his cover as Sir Hilary Bray was blown, Bunt helps some of the men pursue him in the village at the bottom of the mountain. She fails in this and was seemingly killed when she was caught in an explosion at a stock car rally. She is not seen again until right at the end of the film after 007's wedding (a scene deleted from the film had Bunt trailing Bond and Tracy when they were purchasing a wedding ring from a jewelry store). Bunt showed up, alive and well, in a car driven by Blofeld. As they passed the newlyweded couple, Bunt leaned out of the window and sprayed bullets at Bond with a machine gun. Bond was unharmed, but Tracy was killed.

Unusually for a Bond film villain, Bunt escaped punishment and retribution from 007; she did not appear in the following film, Diamonds Are Forever, or any subsequent movie. Ilse Steppat passed away shortly after On Her Majesty's Secret Service was released, and ultimately Diamonds Are Forever mostly eschewed the events of On Her Majesty's Secret Service and never mentioned Tracy's murder.

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