Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Roger Moore 1927-2017

Roger Moore; actor, ambassador, and knight…has passed away at 89.

Born Roger George Moore in Stockwell, London, he studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic  Art, and was a classmate of Lois Maxwell, who would later join him in the greatest role of his life. He left the Academy after six months to pursue the career of a paid actor, and at the age of 17 appeared as an extra in CAESER AND CLEOPATRA in 1945. At the age of 18, shortly after WWII, he was conscripted for National Service and commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps. In the 1950’s, he appeared in print advertisements for knitwear and earned the nickname “The Big Knit”.

Pursuing his acting career, he appeared in several non-hits such as THE KING’S THIEF (1955), and DIANE (1956). He eventually moved to television, where he put in memorable performances in series such as IVANHOE (1958-59), THE ALASKANS (1959-60), MAVERICK (1960-61), and found great success in THE SAINT (1962-69).

His biggest impact in the film world came in 1972, when he accepted the role of Ian Fleming’s secret agent James Bond, when he took over the role from Sean Connery. Moore would appear as Agent 007 from 1973 to 1985 over seven feature films, including his debut LIVE AND LET DIE in 1973, followed by THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (1974), THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977), MOONRAKER (1979), FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981), OCTOPUSSY (1983), and A VIEW TO A KILL (1985).In those films he would be re-united with his old classmate Lois Maxwell, who played the original Miss Moneypenny. He was the oldest to play Bond; he was 45 his first time out and 58 when he announced his retirement from the role. He was the longest serving Bond to date, and he is the first of the official Bonds to pass away.

His take on Bond shifted from trying to emulate Sean Connery to a more campy and fun version, and his good natured humor and willingness to have fun not only gave him his own identity in the role, but opened the door for later comedic roles in THE WILD GEESE (1978), THE CANNONBALL RUN (1981), and CURSE OF THE PINK PANTHER (1983). His acting became less of a priority for him after Bond, and had few screen appearances which included THE QUEST (1996), SPICE WORLD (1997), and BOAT TRIP (2002).

Off the screen he gave back, and became a UNICEF Ambassador in 1991. He worked for PETA, wrote several books, and was knighted in 2003.


Roger Moore was this Blogger’s first introduction to James Bond, having been introduced to the secret agent in the late 1970’s by dad during Sunday afternoon matinees on TV. When the name of Bond is mentioned, the face of Roger Moore is the first to come to mind for this Blogger. Today, many of Moore’s films are not looked back on too fondly, as by today’s standards they border on silly. But there was something perfect about the way he played Bond; where his predecessor played the role as a playboy, and those after him ranged from brutes to suave…Moore played the secret agent as a true gentlemen, just as an Englishman should. Perhaps his gentle approach to the secret agent should serve as a template for future Bonds, and that would be his true legacy.

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