ROGER MOORE

Red Alert raises an eye­brow to the late James Bond star, who died in May

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Self-dep­re­ca­tion came eas­ily to Roger Moore. “My act­ing range? Left eye­brow raised, right eye­brow raised,” he’d say, play­ing up to an im­age es­tab­lished around the time of the ITC se­ries The Saint, in which he played smoothie crim­i­nal Si­mon Tem­plar, a jet set Robin Hood. “Roger Moore has long re­alised that rais­ing his right eye­brow and turn­ing his left pro­file to the cam­era is all that is re­quired of him,” wrote Nancy BanksSmith in The Sun in 1969 – four years be­fore Moore made his James Bond de­but, 15-odd years be­fore the puppet par­ody Spit­ting Im­age gave the same joke new life.

The play­boy, the dilet­tante, the Man with the Sil­ver Spoon. But Roger Moore was the son of a Stock­well cop­per. It was all an act – a class act, lit­er­ally – and it made him the nat­u­ral choice to suc­ceed Sean Con­nery, even if Bond co­pro­ducer Al­bert Broc­coli re­quired con­vinc­ing. “I thought we were scrap­ing the bot­tom of the bar­rel,” he told in­ter­viewer Jean Rook in 1974. “[But] diet him and get rid of those damned eye­brows and he’s great. Nearer what [Ian] Flem­ing had in mind than Con­nery.”

He proved it in his first scene in Live And Let Die, a one-act bed­room farce in­volv­ing M, Miss Moneypenny, Made­line Smith and a mag­netic Rolex. Moore’s Bond is fully formed by the end of that one scene – no stunts, no dou­bles, no ejec­tor seats. Be­gin­ning with Live And Let Die’s voodoo mys­ti­cism, and con­tin­u­ing with the Cap­tain Nemo theatrics of The Spy Who Loved Me and the out­right science fic­tion of

Moon­raker, the Bond cir­cus be­came ever more fan­tas­ti­cal through­out Moore’s time… to the point of Oc­to­pussy, in which Bond at­tempts to defuse a nu­clear bomb while dressed as a clown. Nei­ther Con­nery nor any of the other Bonds could have pulled that one off, could they? But Roger Moore did, with the great­est of ease. There was al­ways more to the Last Of The Fa­mous In­ter­na­tional Play­boys than ever met the eye­brow.

The long­est-run­ning Bond, from 1973 to 1985, Roger Moore brought magic and mis­chief to the role.

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