Sir Roger Moore CBE 14 October 1927 - 23 May 2017
Moore, Roger Moore was the epitome of suave on screen and the personification of warmth and humour off it. Best known as long serving Bond star he was born in London to a Policeman and a housewife. He was a competent swimmer at school and seemed to perform well in his academic pursuits as well, but he dropped out of school at 15 and went to work as an animation apprentice at a London production company.
This did not end well as he was fired, but relying on good looks and charm he impressed the film director Brian Desmond Hurst who helped fund him through RADA. His acting career again stalled at 18 as he carried out his military service. Stationed in Germany, he met the first of his four wives, actress Dorn Van Steyn. He found rebooting his acting career in London a struggle and relocated to America after remarrying in 1953 to singer Dorothy Squires. After landing a role in TV show The World by the Tail, he was suddenly hot property. Several TV studios vied for his talents and good looks. After a series of films with MGM, culminating in his first lead in Diane (1956) he took a new contract with Warner Bros. It was this contract that led to him taking the role as The Saint (62-69) which saw him become a household name across the world. It also saw the end of his marriage to Squires and his third marriage to Italian actress Luisa Mattioli.
He then starred in the Persuaders as the sophisticated playboy alongside Tony Curtis as the ruffian. He even directed a couple of episodes.
His role as The Saint was probably instrumental in the casting of him as the iconic spy, James Bond, replacing Sean Connery for Live and Let Die in 1973. This was the role that was to define him. It is often said that the casting of Moore saw the franchise lurch to a more playful place, this is a little unfair as the last Connery films were developing a more humorous tone. Moore said he was the fourth best Bond, but Connery played an assassin he played a lover. He played Bond well into his fifties, stretching the credibility of the role to the maximum, but once again, as his own comedic critic he would say there was an absurdity to a spy whose name and favourite drink was known the world over. during his Bond years in the mid 70's to early 80's he also played in notable action films including Wild Geese (1980) in which the comedy of Bond was switched for taut brutality.
After his final Bond outing in A View to a Kill (1985) he wrote several books and served as a Unicef ambassador. He divorced Mattoili in 1996 and married his fourth wife Kristina Tholstrup in 2002.
He was always self deprecatory to the extreme, claiming the film The Man who haunted himself (1970) was the only film in which he was allowed to act, New Yorker film critic Anthony Lane said he needed a stunt double for the acting scenes in Bond films. Moore enjoyed the ribbing, even praising UK TV 1908s satire show Spitting Image for their lampoonery. “The eyebrows thing was my own fault,” he said. “I was talking about how talentless I was and said I have three expressions: eyebrow up, eyebrow down and both of them at the same time. And they used it – very well, I must say.”
In later life he undertook a successful one man stage show, retelling his old anecdotes with his trade mark dry deprecation. When asked what audiences could expect from the show, he arched an eyebrow, stared his interview knowingly in the eyes with knowing precision purred, " Two hours good sleep."
The Independent shared this delightful anecdote from a scriptwriter that perfectly encapsulated the man. a true Gentleman with a warmth that is hard to beat.