Film News: Roger Moore, Who Portrayed James Bond, Dies at 89

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SWITZERLAND – Of all the breathless hype that comes with each new James Bond movie, the man who played Bond the longest (and in the most films) is often forgotten. Sir Roger Moore – he was knighted for his charity work – portrayed Bond from 1972 to 1985, and died in Switzerland on May 22, 2017. He was 89.

The roguish Moore portrayed Britain’s most famous spy with a air of sophistication and humor, eschewing the harder edge that the first Bond, Sean Connery, had established. From the first film, “Live and Let Die” (1972) to 13 years later with “A View to a Kill,” Moore defined Bond for a generation of 1970s and ‘80s filmgoers. He had been an established British TV actor before taking on his most famous role, and even made inroads in America on the popular series “Maverick” in 1960.

Roger Moore was born in London to working class parents. He went to the College of the Venerable Bede, but never finished, and joined the Royal Army shortly after World War II. After leaving the army with the rank of Captain, he studied for two terms at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, while taking bit parts in films. His model-like good looks got him noticed at Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and they signed him to a seven year contract in 1954. He debut American film was a role in “The Last Time I Saw Paris.” He was released from his MGM contract after two years.

The next step for Moore was television, and he made a splash in Britain with the series “Ivanhoe” in 1958. This was followed by “The Alaskans” for American television, and his stint on “Maverick” as the British cousin of the title character, portrayed by James Garner. His greatest TV success was on the British series, “The Saint,” which was exported all over the world, including America. His role as Simon Templar was the template for James Bond, which featured the familiar suave and quipping persona for the actor.

Ironically, the first Bond film that Moore starred in, after taking the mantle from Sean Connery, was the grittier adventure “Live and Let Die” (1972). He developed his Bond over the next six films, and his run was increasingly known for their high-concept plots, wry humor and rivalry with the dreaded villain Jaws (Richard Kiel). Moore later joked he “only had three expressions as Bond – right eyebrow raised, left eyebrow raised and eyebrows crossed when grabbed by Jaws.”

He did an astonishing 13 films during the Bond era, including “Shout at the Devil” (1976), “The Wild Geese” (1978) and “The Cannonball Run” (1981, with his catchphrase, “I’m Roger Moore.”). His post-Bond work was spotty, but he got good reviews for his portrayal of an amorous gay man in “Boat Trip” (2002). He was active in the charities UNICEF and PETA, and was knighted for that effort in 1999.

’I’m Roger Moore!’ Spoofing his Image in ‘The Cannonball Run’
Photo credit: Warner Home Video

Roger Moore was married four times, and is survived by Kristina Tholstrup and three children. He passed away in Switzerland on May 22nd, 2017, after “a brief battle with cancer.”

Sir Roger Moore always practiced self depreciating humor, and played it to the hilt… “When I was a young actor at RADA, Noël Coward was in the audience one night. He said to me after the play, ‘Young man, with your devastating good looks and your disastrous lack of talent, you should take any job ever offered you. In the event that you’re offered two jobs simultaneously, take the one that offers the most money.’ Here I am.”

Source material for this article is from Wikipedia and IMDB. Sir Roger Moore, 1927-2017 senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Writer, Editorial Coordinator

© 2017 Patrick McDonald,

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