Roger Moore, the suave British actor who put intrigue before ruthlessness in his characterization of James Bond in seven members of the famous franchise’s movies, has died. He was 89.
He died Tuesday in Switzerland” after a short but brave battle with cancer ,” Moore’s three children said in a letter shared on their father’s Twitter account.” We know our own adore and affection is likely to be magnified many times over, in various regions of the world, by people who knew him for his movies, his television proves and his passionate work for Unicef, which he considered to be his greatest accomplishment ,” they wrote.
For 12 times, from” Live and Let Die”( 1973) through” A View to a Kill”( 1985 ), Moore owned the responsibilities of Agent 007, the martini-drinking, lady-loving British snoop introduced in the fictions of Ian Fleming. His take over the character was likened, inevitably, to that of Sean Connery, the original movie Bond.
” Gone were the macho toughness and ruthlessness of Connery’s Bond ,” wrote Michael Di Leo in” The Spy Who Thrilled Us: A Guide to the Best of Cinematic James Bond”( 2002 ).” In their home, Moore played up Bond’s suave and humorous back, and his movies indicated this new atmosphere .”
Moore’s take on the beloved movie character produced mixed reactions, as reflected in surveys and polls done in 2012 to celebrate the 50 th anniversary of Bond films.
A poll of Americans by CBS’s” 60 Minutes” and Vanity Fair magazine ranked Moore as third-best of the six movie Bonds, behind Connery and Pierce Brosnan. He came in third, after Connery and Daniel Craig, in a survey by the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper. He ranked fourth, ahead of short-timers Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby, in a 2012 survey by NPR.
For his part, Moore told Craig, who took over the part in 2006, became his favorite Bail with “Skyfall”( 2012 ).
In his 2008 memoir,” My Word Is My Bond ,” Moore took issue with the rap that he — or anyone else, for that matter — could draw Bond too lightly.
He wrote of Bond:” How can he be a snoop, yet walk into any barroom in the world and have the bartender accept him and provide him his favorite alcohol? Come on, it’s all a big gag .”
Roger George Moore was born on Oct. 14, 1927, in southwest London, the only infant of George Moore, a police constable and amateur actor, and the former Lily Pope. With his grammar-school classmates, “hes been” evacuated to southern England from 1939 to 1941 to escape the German bombing of London.
At 18, following a year at the Royal Academy of Dramatic art, he was called to military service and served with the British Army in postwar Germany.
Back in London at 21, he behaved in plays on stage and television, then endeavoured to New York, where he found roles in two episodes of the television drama series” Robert Montgomery Presents .” Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. passed him a movie contract, and he debuted on the big screen in” The Last-place Time I Saw Paris”( 1954 ), with Elizabeth Taylor.
He got to kiss Lana Turner, in “Diane”( 1956 ), before MGM cut him loose. He starred in the British Tv serial “Ivanhoe” in 1958 -1 959, then was signed by Warner Bros. Studios for movies such as” The Miracle”( 1959) and” The Sins of Rachel Cade”( 1961 ). He joined the casting of “Maverick,” the ABC Western, in 1960 as its sun, James Garner, was leaving.
In” The Saint ,” which aired in the U.K. on ITV, Moore obtained his biggest pre-Bond persona, as Simon Templar, a roguish crook with Robin Hood values. The testify was picked up by NBC for an American audience.
Moore was working on another ITV series,” The Persuaders !” — with Tony Curtis — when James Bond came calling.
He was friends with Albert ” Cubby ” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, producers of the Bond movies, from London’s gambling fraternities. After Connery finished his six-picture run with “Diamonds Are Forever”( 1971 ), Broccoli and Saltzman offered Moore the role.
In examining Moore’s debut,” Live and Let Die ,” New York Times critic Vincent Canby obtained him” more than acceptable in the persona that constructed Sean Connery rich and unhappy with type-casting .” On the other hand, Richard Schickel of Time magazine told Moore and his co-stars” suffer a kind of weightlessness, a lack of humanness, which is something that Sean Connery as 007 lent previous Bond escapades .”
In Moore’s second Bond feature,” The Boy with the Golden Gun”( 1974 ), director Guy Hamilton” wanted to toughen up my Bond a little ,” Moore wrote, partly by having him threaten to break the limb of the villain’s girlfriend, played by Maud Adams.
” That sort of characterization didn’t sit easily with me ,” Moore wrote.” I showed my Bail would have charmed the information out of her by bedding her first. My Bail was a love and a giggler. Nonetheless, Guy was keen to induce my Bond a little more ruthless, as Fleming’s original had been .”
” The Spy Who Desired Me”( 1977 ), which introduced the henchman known as Jaws, give full play to 7-foot, 2-inch Richard Kiel, is often cited as the best use of Moore’s seven Bond films.
It was followed by ” Moonraker”( 1979 ), again with Kiel as Jaws;” For Your Eyes Only”( 1981 ); a reunion with Adams in “Octopussy”( 1983 ); and, ultimately,” A Opinion to a Kill ,” liberated when Moore was 57. The Bond franchise was then extended to Dalton.
Moore insisted he was a grateful sun throughout his Bond tenure, having” never forgotten my roots and how lucky I have been .” Broccoli passed a conflicting report in an autobiography he finished just before his death in 1996.
In the book, co-written by Donald Zec, Broccoli told Moore developed a sizable ego and by the end was springing” bizarre, neurotic little tricks ,” such as challenging private aircrafts and slumping to appear at promotional events.
Moore spoofed his Bail contact in the all-star comedy” The Cannonball Run”( 1981 ). His character, Seymour Goldfarb Jr ., tells a threaten biker,” I must warn you, I’m Roger Moore !” Unimpressed, the biker slugs him in the mouth.
Long active with the United Nation Children’s Fund, Moore was knighted in 2003 by Queen Elizabeth II.
Moore’s first three matrimonies, to ice skater Doorn van Steyn, vocalist Dorothy Squires and Italian actress Luisa Mattioli, was concluded in divorce. With Mattioli, he had three children: Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian. In 2002, he married Christina Tholstrup.