For Many, Roger Moore Always Will Be James Bond, and a Real-Life Hero as Well
|Roger Moore as Shawn Fynn in "The Wild Geese" (1978).|
By the time I'm out the door
You tear men down like Roger Moore
|Roger Moore with Barbara Bach in "The Spy Who Loved Me."|
|Young Roger Moore.|
Roger Moore's YouthRoger was born on October 27, 1927, in London, England. His policeman father, George Alfred Moore, and mother, Lillian "Lily" Moore, sent Roger to Battersea Grammar School. He joined the general evacuation of children from London during the Blitz, then went on to take classes, without graduating, at the University of Durham. Shortly after World War II, when most men were being mustered out of the service, Roger was commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps as a second Lieutenant. He served in West Germany, perhaps mingling with real spies. He rose to the rank of Captain before joining the entertainment branch as an actor.
|Roger Moore in the Army, already showing his genial charm.|
|A young Roger Moore in "The Alaskans."|
Along with "The Avengers," "The Saint" is probably the best-remembered 1960s British television series abroad (Patrick McGoohan's "Secret Agent," while much beloved in England, never achieved quite the same level of renown in America as "The Saint"). Roger Moore was exemplary in the role of Simon Templar, and it made his later career possible. He did regret not having the ability also to play in higher-quality films during this period. "I'd have loved to have been as talented as Peter O'Toole," he would later say in typically self-deprecating fashion. Roger Moore indeed would have demonstrated his range in prestigious films such as "Lawrence of Arabia," but fate had other plans in store for the immensely popular small-screen actor.
|Roger Moore in "The Saint" in 1965.|
|Roger Moore as Simon Templar.|
James Bond 007 CallsMeanwhile, the Ian Fleming-derived James Bond franchise had become a huge hit during Roger's stint on "The Saint," with Sean Connery returning one last time for "Diamonds are Forever" in 1971. It was clear to many that Roger was ideal for the part. However, Roger Moore's commitment to "The Saint" and "The Persuaders," along with the casting of other actors in the James Bond role, made it look increasingly unlikely that he ever would be able to use his preparation of playing super spies to portray the biggest superspy of them all. He was, after all, several years older than Connery, who was rapidly growing out of the role himself. By 1972, though, the James Bond role was vacant for good, and the time finally was right. Roger Moore was a natural successor to Sean Connery, already was the most famous English actor of his generation. Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, who along with Henry Saltzman owned the rights to the James Bond franchise, offered Roger Moore the Bond role. Roger, delighted, quickly signed up for and filmed "Live and Let Die" (1973).
|Roger Moore in "Live and Let Die."|
|Roger Moore as James Bond fighting Jaws (Richard Kiel).|
|Roger Moore on a break between scenes. It looks awfully hot there.|
|Roger Moore while filming "Moonraker."|
Post-Bond WorkWhile Roger Moore occasionally worked in other films during his James Bond period, they were nowhere near as memorable. After finally cutting the ties to Ian Fleming's spy in 1985, Roger Moore did some more low-key film and television work before calling it quits in the 1990s. After all those years of playing a spy, it was clear that Roger Moore still was typecast, but in a good way. He became the butt of some jokes on British comedy television series, which he took good-naturedly, but the spoofs were not always kind. Perhaps the most notorious of them was a skit in which Roger's head was portrayed as a block of wood which, when called upon to express extreme emotion, raised its eyebrow slightly. Roger's many loyal fans became incensed, and reportedly there were death threats.
You do not mess with Roger Moore.
|Roger Moore mixing it up in "The Spy Who Loved Me."|
|Roger Moore promoting UNICEF with wife Christina 'Kiki' Tholstrup.|
|Sir Roger Moore, 1927 - 2017.|