Last month, the entertainment world bid farewell to one of the greats in the movie business: Sir Roger Moore, the 89-year-old star of classics such as The Saint and who was probably best known for playing secret agent James Bond in seven 007 movies between 1973 and 1985. Our team at DEOD, being huge Bond fans, wanted to celebrate Moore’s incredible career and pay homage to the man the LA Times called “the dashing British spy who, in Moore’s hands, never met a woman or a pun he could resist.”
Moore’s suave style made 007 the spy every kid wanted to be. Tributes flooded the media in the days after Moore’s death, with fans and colleagues hailing him as a modest and well-loved, but highly professional, actor. Fellow Bond actors Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan saluted the star in messages of tribute with Brosnan gushing “You were a magnificent James Bond”, while the equally legendary Sean Connery concurred, “I was very sad to hear of Roger’s passing we had an unusually long relationship by Hollywood standards, that was filled with jokes and laughter, I will miss him.”
Born in London, England, in 1927, Roger Moore’s first acting role was as an extra in the film Caesar and Cleopatra in 1945. His success prompted his director to pay for Moore to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, where he studied for three terms before being conscripted for national service in 1946. By the 1950s however, Moore was back working as a model and secured his first contract with MGM in 1954.
His early movies, including Interrupted Melody, The King’s Thief and Diane, were not big hits and by the late 1950s, Moore was a TV actor, featuring in TV series such as Ivanhoe, the western The Alaskans, and Maverick. But it was his role as Simon Templar in The Saint which ran for six seasons from 1962 that set his star in motion and then starring opposite Tony Curtis in The Persuaders in 1971, which paved the way for him to be offered the role of James Bond in Live and Let Die in 1972. He went on to portray a wisecracking, comically debonair version of Bond in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974); The Spy Who Loved Me (1977); Moonraker (1979); For Your Eyes Only (1981); Octopussy (1983); and A View to a Kill (1985), as well as acting in 13 other films.
Noted by some as a hypochondriac, “who feared heights and loathed guns”, Moore was a ladies man both on and off the screen, quipping once “Sean (Connery) played Bond as a killer and I played Bond as a lover.” He was married four times with had three children with his third wife, Luisa Mattioli. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003 for “services to charity”, including 12 years as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, his humanitarian passion was sparked initially by his compassionate friend, Aubrey Hepburn. Appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1999, Moore was also promoted to Knight Commander of the same Order (KBE) in 2003.
He was the oldest and longest serving Bond to date, voted ‘Best Bond’ in an Academy Awards poll in 2004, and in 2007, with his seven 007 films collectively grossing over $1 billion at the box office. Moore was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his long-standing work in television and in film.