Roger Moore was longest-run­ning James Bond

Bri­tish ac­tor died in Switzer­land of can­cer at age 89

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - ANITA GATES

Roger Moore, the dap­per Bri­tish ac­tor who brought tongue-incheek hu­mour to the James Bond per­sona in seven films, eclips­ing his tele­vi­sion ca­reer, which had in­cluded star­ring roles in at least five series, died Tues­day in Switzer­land. He was 89.

The death, at­trib­uted to can­cer, was con­firmed in a fam­ily state­ment on Twit­ter. It did not say where in Switzer­land he died.

Moore was the old­est Bond ever hired, tak­ing on the role when he was 46. (Sean Con­nery, who orig­i­nated the film char­ac­ter and with whom Moore was con­stantly com­pared, was 33.) He also had the longest run in the role, be­gin­ning in 1973 with “Live and Let Die” and wind­ing up in 1985 with “A View to a Kill.”

When he be­came 007, the au­thor Ian Flem­ing’s sexy se­cret agent with a li­cence to kill, Moore was al­ready well known to U.S. au­di­ences. Af­ter play­ing the ti­tle role in a Bri­tish me­dieval-ad­ven­ture series, “Ivan­hoe,” shown in the United States in syn­di­ca­tion in 1958, and star­ring in “The Alaskans,” a short-lived (195960) ABC gold-rush series, he re­placed the de­part­ing James Gar­ner in the fourth sea­son (1960-61) of the western hit “Mav­er­ick.” His de­cid­edly non-Western ac­cent was ex­plained away by the Bri­tish ed­u­ca­tion of his char­ac­ter, Beau­re­gard Mav­er­ick, the orig­i­nal hero’s cousin.

From 1962 to 1969 Moore was Si­mon Tem­plar, the ti­tle char­ac­ter of “The Saint,” a wildly pop­u­lar Bri­tish series about an ad­ven­tur­ous, smooth-talk­ing thief. It did so well in U.S. syn­di­ca­tion that NBC adopted it for its prime­time sched­ule from 1967 to 1969. Two years later, Moore and Tony Cur­tis starred in ABC’s one-sea­son series “The Per­suaders” as play­boy part­ners solv­ing glam­orous Euro­pean crimes.

Af­ter sur­ren­der­ing the Bond role to Ti­mothy Dal­ton, Moore ap­peared in a half-dozen largely un­ex­cep­tional movies, made a few tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ances and did voice work in an­i­mated films. Mostly, how­ever, he turned his at­ten­tion else­where, be­com­ing a UNICEF good­will am­bas­sador in 1991. He was made a com­man­der of the Bri­tish Em­pire in 1999 and was knighted in 2003.

Roger Ge­orge Moore was born Oct. 14, 1927, in Stock­well, South Lon­don, the only child of Ge­orge Al­fred Moore, a Lon­don po­lice of­fi­cer who dab­bled in am­a­teur theatre, and the former Lily Pope. Early on, Roger ex­pressed in­ter­est in be­com­ing a com­mer­cial artist and worked while a teenager at an an­i­ma­tion com­pany. But he fell into movie ex­tra work, was en­cour­aged by a di­rec­tor to pur­sue act­ing and en­tered the Royal Academy of Dra­matic Art in 1944.

He was drafted dur­ing the fi­nal year of the Sec­ond World War, serv­ing as a sec­ond lieu­tenant in the Royal Army Ser­vice Corps. Af­ter the war he did stage work in Lon­don and Cam­bridge, Eng­land, and ap­peared in mostly un­cred­ited movie parts. He left for the United States in 1953.

Moore made his U.S. tele­vi­sion de­but that year play­ing a French diplo­mat on an episode of NBC’s “Robert Mont­gomery Presents.” His film de­but was a small role as a ten­nis pro in “The Last Time I Saw Paris” (1954), star­ring a young El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor. His sec­ond movie was the ro­man­tic melo­drama “In­ter­rupted Melody” (1955), with Eleanor Parker. But he soon re­turned to Bri­tain and spent the rest of his ca­reer do­ing a mix of Bri­tish, U.S. and Euro­pean projects.

Dur­ing his ten­ure as James Bond, Moore played al­most a score of un­re­lated act­ing roles, most notably “The Can­non­ball Run” (1981), the car-race com­edy with Burt Reynolds, and the tele­vi­sion movie “Sher­lock Holmes in New York” (1976), in which he starred as Holmes and John Hus­ton played Pro­fes­sor Mo­ri­arty.

Moore’s only vis­its to Broad­way were brief and, in dif­fer­ent ways, un­pleas­ant. In 1953 he had a small role in the Bri­tish drama “A Pin to See the Peepshow,” which opened and closed on the same night. Ex­actly 50 years later he ap­peared as the mys­tery guest star in Hamish McColl and Sean Fo­ley’s com­edy “The Play What Wrote” and col­lapsed on­stage. He re­ceived a pace­maker at a New York hos­pi­tal the next day. (He was al­ready a 10-year sur­vivor of prostate can­cer.)

In be­tween, An­drew Lloyd Web­ber cast him in his 1989 mu­si­cal, “As­pects of Love,” in Lon­don, but Moore dropped out a month be­fore the open­ing, un­happy with his singing voice.

His last film ap­pear­ance was a sup­port­ing role in “The Carer” (2016), about an ag­ing and ail­ing Bri­tish ac­tor (Brian Cox).

Moore mar­ried four times and was di­vorced three. He met his first wife (1946-53), Doorn Van Steyn, at act­ing school in Lon­don. He mar­ried Dorothy Squires in 1953 and left her in the early ’60s for Luisa Mattioli, whom he had met mak­ing an Ital­ian film, but their di­vorce was not fi­nal un­til 1968. He mar­ried Mattioli the next year and had three chil­dren with her. They di­vorced in 1996.

In 2002 he mar­ried the Swedish-born Christina Thol­strup, who sur­vives him.

He is also sur­vived by his sons, Ge­of­frey and Chris­tian; a daugh­ter, Deb­o­rah; and grand­chil­dren.

Moore had def­i­nite opin­ions about play­ing heroic ad­ven­tur­ers long be­fore he be­came Bond.

“I would say your av­er­age hero has a su­per ego, an invincible at­ti­tude and an over­all death wish,” he told The New York Times in 1970. “He’s slightly around the twist, isn’t he?”

“In the­atri­cal terms, I’ve never had a part that de­mands much of me,” he added. “The only way I’ve had to ex­tend my­self has been to carry on charm­ing.”

Bri­tish ac­tor Roger Moore, play­ing the ti­tle role of se­cret ser­vice agent 007, James Bond, is shown on lo­ca­tion in Eng­land in 1972. Moore, played Bond in seven films, more than any other ac­tor.

English ac­tor Roger Moore, downs a Mar­tini in 1968. Moore had re­cently been awarded his sec­ond Bravo Otto award for most pop­u­lar tele­vi­sion ac­tor, by Ger­man mag­a­zine Bravo, for his mys­tery spy thriller tele­vi­sion series, ’The Saint’.

A 1996 por­trait of Roger Moore, in the Stu­dio City sec­tion of Los An­ge­les.


Bri­tish ac­tor Roger Moore poses with Spain’s most prized award, the Don Quixote Award, which was pre­sented to him in 1968.

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