Sir Roger George Moore, KBE (14 October 1927 – 23 May 2017) was an English actor known for his suave and witty demeanor. He was known best for portraying two fictional English action heroes, Simon Templar in the television series The Saint, from 1962 to 1969, and as Sean Connery's successor as James Bond in the phenomenally successful film series from 1973 to 1985, and a UNICEF ambassador from 1991.
Roger Moore was born in Stockwell, London, the son of a policeman, he attended Dr Challoner's Grammar School in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England. During World War II, he served in the entertainment branch (above luminaries such as Spike Milligan). He first appeared in films in the 1940s, as an extra, and then was a leading man, notably in television. Besides having been The Saint, many episodes of which he also directed, Moore was Ivanhoe, the noble knight, and featured as the leading man of The Persuaders! It was for this he was paid the then unheard of sum of one million pounds for a single series, making him the highest paid television actor in the world.
While filming Octopussy in India in 1983, he was shocked at the utter poverty on display, Moore has engaged in humanitarian work. His colleague Audrey Hepburn impressed him with her work for UNICEF, and consequently he became UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1991. He was the voice of "Santa" in the UNICEF cartoon "The Fly Who Loved Me." Moore was also involved in the production of an informative video for PETA that protests against the production and wholesale of foie gras. Moore narrates the video, which shows how ducks and geese are force-fed in order to appease the demand for the "delicacy."
In 1999, Moore was created a Commander of the British Empire (CBE), and a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) on June 14, 2003.
When in his late seventies, Moore appeared only occasionally in film or television, notably an episode of the American TV series Alias, in 2002.
Moore had a daughter and two sons with Luisa Mattioli; son Geoffrey Moore also is an actor, and owns a restaurant in London. Daughter Deborah Moore made a guest appearance as a flight attendant in Die Another Day.
Moore underwent major but successful surgery for prostate cancer in 1993, an event he later referred to as a life-changing experience.
Roger Moore died on 23 May 2017 in Crans-Montana, Switzerland after a short fight against cancer.
There are a lot of apocryphal stories as to when Moore's name was first dropped as a possible candidate for the mantle of James Bond. Some sources, specifically Albert R. Broccoli from his autobiography When The Snow Melts, claim that Moore was considered for Dr. No, and that he was Ian Fleming's favorite for the role after apparently having seen Moore as Simon Templar; however, this story is often debunked by fans and Bond-film historians, who point to the fact that the series did not begin airing in the United Kingdom until October 4, 1962—only one day before the premiere of Dr. No. Other sources, such as the insert for the special edition DVDs, claim that Moore was passed over for Bond in favour of someone who was older. As Moore is older than Sean Connery, this is probably not true. Publicly, Moore wasn't linked to the role of 007 until 1967, when Harry Saltzman claimed he would make a good Bond, but also displayed misgivings due to his popularity as Simon Templar. Nevertheless, Moore was finally cast as James Bond in Live and Let Die (1973).
Moore's seven years as Simon Templar earned him enough popularity (and credibility) among fans of detective fiction to earn many Bond fans' acceptance, despite the inevitable comparisons to Connery, who was and is a friend of Moore.
After Live and Let Die, Moore also played the suave and sophisticated agent in:
- The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
- The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
- Moonraker (1979)
- For Your Eyes Only (1981)
- Octopussy (1983)
- A View to a Kill (1985).
To date, Moore is the longest-serving James Bond actor at twelve years (from when he was signed in 1973, to his retirement from the role in 1985), and seven official films (Connery also made seven, but his last Bond film, Never Say Never Again (1983), is not part of the official EON Productions Bond series.) He is also the oldest actor to play Bond: he was 45 when he debuted and 58 when he announced his retirement on 3 December 1985.
Moore's James Bond was light-hearted, more so than any other official actor to portray the character. Connery's style, even in its lighter moments, was that of a focused, determined detective. Moore often portrayed 007 as somewhat of a playboy, with tongue firmly in cheek. The humor served Moore and his fans well through most of his Bond tenure. Fans also relished the moments when his Bond was all business, especially in the more intense parts of The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, and Octopussy (when, despite wearing a clown getup, he defuses a bomb). It is generally agreed that of the six actors to have played Bond, Moore's portrayal was the furthest removed from the character created by Ian Fleming.
- Roger Moore as James Bond: Roger Moore's Own Account of Filming Live and Let Die. (1973)
- My Word Is My Bond: The Autobiography. (2008)
- Bond on Bond: The Ultimate Book on 50 Years of Bond Movies. (2012)
- Last Man Standing. (2014) (Published as One Lucky Bastard in the United States)
- À bientôt …. (2017) (Published Posthumously).
- Sir Roger Moore @ Fan Site - best source of information about Sir Roger Moore's film and TV work on the net
- Roger Moore at the Internet Movie Database.
- Sir Roger Moore's Official Website - contains articles on Roger's work with UNICEF as well as his entertainment career
- Classic Movies (1939–1969): Roger Moore
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