by Jason Koenigsberg
Moore, Roger Moore. The third actor to portray world famous secret agent 007-James Bond has passed away from a short battle with cancer at age 89. He is the first member of the very exclusive club of actors to play James Bond to leave us. Roger Moore was an actor of impeccable class and talent, above all else, Roger Moore was a gentleman.
His outstanding autobiography, My Word is My Bond shed a lot of light on the life and times of one of Great Britain’s finest and longest working thespians. His career contained over one hundred acting credits spanning all the way back to 1945, right after Britain was devastated from the war, all the way up to 2017 where he currently had four films in production at the time of his death.
Despite the fact that he will most likely always be remembered as the man who followed Sean Connery in playing James Bond, he had an extensive array of roles outside of being Bond. As all the actors who have played Bond have stated, the job is a blessing and a curse. It follows them wherever they go and they are synonymous with the franchise regardless of what they did before or after playing Bond.
Even though his first Bond outing, Live and Let Die (1973) was a hit, Roger Moore never really felt comfortable playing 007 until his third Bond picture The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) where he really made James Bond his own. Gone was the looming shadow of Sean Connery and now Roger Moore had successfully turned the super spy persona into one that fit his personality. He was warmer, kinder, more romantic, flirtatious and humorous with his take on James Bond. There lacked a sense of urgency in his depiction but there never lacked any excitement or escapism from his Bond pictures. To this date he is the actor to portray Bond in the most films, seven in total. Although an asterisk should go with that statistic since Connery played Bond in the non-licensed Eon production of Never Say Never Again (1983).
Unlike Connery and some other 007’s, Roger Moore was very famous prior to taking over the coveted James Bond role. He had much success on television as the title character in Ivanhoe, The Saint and Maverick, all long running and extremely popular programs during their era. He was busy acting in between the 007 films throughout the 70’s and 80’s even though many were not successful with American audiences and after his tenure as 007 he continued to act in lead and supporting roles both in Hollywood and in Great Britain.
Roger Moore must have loved acting since he seemed to constantly have a job. He also used his celebrity status to promote social causes and worked with Audrey Hepburn as a UNICEF ambassador for decades. His entire life and career would forever be in the shadow of James Bond and Sean Connery, something he never lived down. Connery and Moore were actually close friends even though the press would sometimes try and start a rivalry between the two. Moore always took the high road in his professional and personal life. He would never do something onscreen that he disagreed with personally and hated when roles required him to slap women or hurt children. An outspoken advocate of human rights, Roger Moore was a great actor and a great human being. His charisma, stature and contributions to society and the arts made the world a better place.
Here is a video tribute to Roger Moore and his greatest moments as 007.