Roger Moore, who is best known for playing James Bond in seven movies throughout the 70s and 80s, has passed away at the age of 89. The actor succumbed to cancer. The veteran star died in Switzerland. It has been announced that he will have a private funeral in Monaco in accordance with his wishes.
To some, Roger Moore is the only James Bond that matters. To others, he is the quintessential Bond, personifying the sexiness and cool European swagger that made his take on the character slightly different than those that came before him and those that followed. He was the first to present Bond with a grand sense of humor, that hasn’t been matched in any of other movies in this long running series. But no matter what your stance on the matter is, Moore is one of the best Bonds to ever sip a Martini and chase both villain and tail at a time when Playboy was king at the newsstand, and movies were just a bit more colorful and fun.
Way back in 1971, after Sean Connery decided to make Diamonds are Forever his finally James Bond movie, audiences weren’t quite ready to accept a new take on the character. The landscape was devoid of social media, so the outcry over casting a new Bond wasn’t quite as loud as you’d see today. Connery’s was a glorious, sexy, manly Bond. MGM decided to go in a slightly different direction. In stepped Roger Moore, who was filled of bravado and sophistication. Though he has quite the catalogue of work behind him, there’s no denying that his defining moments as an actor of the screen came while wearing 007’s freshly pressed tuxedo.
Roger Moore first stepped into play James Bond for director Guy Hamilton in the 1973 action adventure Live and Let Die. The pair would then reunite just one year later for The Man With the Golden Gun. Lewis Gilbert’s The Spy Who Loved Me helped close out the 70s Bond saga, which at the time was being called the biggest and best Bond ever. Gilbert and Moore then teamed up for the 1979 epic Moonraker, which tried to capture the popularity of Star Wars at the time with a tale partially set in space.
James Bond kicked off the 80s with John Glen’s For Your Eyes Only, with Roger Moore returning to work with a new 007 director that would take the popular character into the next decade. Shortly after came Octopussy in 1983, also directed by Scot Glen. Then, in 1985, Roger Moore would team up one last time with Glen for the quintessential 80s Bond movie A View to a Kill, which proved to be Moore’s swan song as the character before Timothy Dalton would step in.
Roger George Moore was born on October 14, 1927 in Stockwell, London, England. He first dreamed of being an artist, but decided acting might better suit him as a full time job after picking up work in various projects as an extra in the 40s. Before his career had a chance to take off, Moore would join the British military and serve in World War II. He arrived in the U.S. in 1953 looking for work. He soon signed with MGM and went onto make a handful of well received movies that included Diane (1956), Interrupted Melody (1955), andThe Last Time I Saw Paris (1954).
While he was scoring some high profile work on the big screen, he soon transitioned to television, where he appeared on Ivanhoe (1958), The Alaskans (1959), and most noticeably Maverick (1957). This led to his starring role in the iconic adventure drama The Saint in 1962. The series made him an overnight success, and would help push him towards the role of James Bond. Though a huge star overseas, his star was not shining as brightly in America. But once he signed onto play Bond for the first time in 1983, that all changed.Though he was quite popular as Bond, he never really found a niche outside of that in the U.S.
He did spoof his role as James Bond in the immensely popular Burt Reynolds race movie Cannonball Run in 1981. He did not return for the sequel. Other notable appearances throughout the years include his turn in the 1996 Jean-Claude Van Damme thriller The Quest, and he appeared opposite The Spice Girls in 1997’s Spice World. He would play up his flamboyant style as in actor in the 2002 comedy Boat Trip opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. and Horatio Sanz. And once again spoof his James Bond persona in the family movie Cats & Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore, voicing a cat names Tab Lazenby.
In 2016, he appeared in a TV reworking of The Saint. He currently has three movies listed in post-production on IMDB, which include Summer Night, Winter Moon, Just Who Does This Child Take After? and Astrid Silverlock, the last of which he serves as a narrator.
Roger Moore was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire on December 31, 1998 in the New Years Honours for services to UNICEF, and was promoted to Knight Commander of the same order on June 14, 2003 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the charities UNICEF and Kiwanis International. He is survived by his wife Kristina Tholstrup and his three children, sons Christian and Geoffrey and daughter Deborah. According to The BBC, they left this public message following his death.
“Thank you Pops for being you, and for being so special to so many people.”
Roger Moore will forever be remembered as one of, if not the best, James Bond to ever roam the landscape, especially when it comes to 70s and 80s cinema. RIP, Roger Moore.