A for­mer James Bond says good­bye

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL - By Paul Davis Paul Davis is a writer who cov­ers crime, es­pi­onage and ter­ror­ism.

Al­though I much pre­fer Sean Con­nery’s dark and dan­ger­ous por­trayal of Ian Flem­ing’s iconic char­ac­ter James Bond to Sir Roger Moore’s light and comedic ap­proach, I was a huge fan of Mr. Moore’s por­trayal of Les­lie Char­teris’ Si­mon Tem­plar in the 1960s TV se­ries “The Saint.”

By all ac­counts, the late Mr. Moore was an in­tel­li­gent and ami­able man with a self-dep­re­cat­ing sense of hu­mor. This comes across clearly in his books, such as “My Word is My Bond” and “Last Man Stand­ing,” as well as his lat­est book, “A Bienot.”

The book was de­liv­ered to his pub­lisher only days be­fore he died on May 23 at the age of 89.

“A Bienot” (French for good­bye or see you later) of­fers Mr. Moore’s take on grow­ing old and a look back at what he has called an ex­traor­di­nar­ily lucky and charmed life.

“The poet Dante be­lieved old age starts at forty-five. The United Na­tions sug­gests it be­gins at sixty. Mean­while, in 2016, the Daily Ex­press news­pa­per re­ported that Bri­tons do not see them­selves as el­derly un­til they are nudg­ing eighty-five,” Mr. Moore writes at the start of his last book. “Well, as I write, I’m in my nineti­eth year. Ninety! Where did those years go? But what is old age? Does it de­fine us? Does it in­hibit us? You can’t es­cape it, you can’t avoid it — well, you can, but the al­ter­na­tive isn’t to be rec­om­mended — so you just have to em­brace it.”

Mr. Moore’s charmed life be­gan in Lon­don on Oct. 14, 1927. The son of a po­lice­man, Mr. Moore trained as an ac­tor, served in the Bri­tish army, and came to fame on Bri­tish TV as “Ivan­hoe” in the 1950s. He re­placed James Garner in 1960 on “Mav­er­ick” and first ap­peared as “The Saint” in 1962. “The Saint” ran un­til 1969. In 1971 he starred in “The Per­suaders” with Tony Cur­tis and in 1973 he starred in his first Bond film, “Live and Let Die.” He would go on to por­tray James Bond in six more films, fi­nally giv­ing up the role af­ter 1985’s “A View to a Kill.”

But it was his more than 25 years as a UNICEF good­will am­bas­sador ad­vo­cat­ing chil­dren’s causes that he was most proud of. He was knighted by the Bri­tish queen for his UNICEF work in 2003.

He was also a life­long sup­porter of the Bri­tish Con­ser­va­tive Party.

“A Bienot” of­fers Mr. Moore’s musings, along with anec­dotes, sketches, pho­tos, com­plaints about grow­ing old, and abun­dant hu­mor.

Mr. Moore notes in the book that he has lived through many land­mark events, such as World War II, the birth of tele­vi­sion, the first man on the moon and the birth of the In­ter­net. Then re­al­iz­ing that he was re­ally that old, he of­fered up some of the ab­sur­di­ties ad­vanc­ing age brings with it, such as “when you look at a bath­tub and won­der, if you get in it, will you ever get out,” and “when you feel twen­ty­one in­side but won­der who the old fart in the bath­room mir­ror star­ing back at you is.”

Later in the book Mr. Moore laments that the English lan­guage has be­come in­for­mal and lazy, but want­ing to blend in, he of­fers his own old folks’ text short­hand:

“ATD — At the doc­tors. BTW — Bring the wheel­chair. BYOT — Bring your own teeth. FWIW — For­got where I was. IMHO — Is my hear­ing aid on? GGPBL — Gotta go, pace­maker bat­tery low. ROFLACGU — Rolling on floor laugh­ing and can’t get up. TTYL — Talk to you louder.”

Re­flect­ing on his early days as a hand­some lead­ing man, Mr. Moore writes “Play­ing se­cret he­roes, ac­tion-ad­ven­ture char­ac­ters and suave crime stop­pers was all in a day’s work for me as a young, agile ac­tor. Yes, back then I could leap out of cars, run up stairs with­out tak­ing a breath and hap­pily throw my­self around sets for fight-se­quences, of­ten with­out putting a hair on my well-lac­quered head out of place.”

Well, that’s all stopped, he in­forms the reader.

“I now glare at stairs with con­tempt and huge sus­pi­cion. In­stead of leap­ing out, I have to prise my­self care­fully from cars while des­per­ately try­ing not to ac­ci­den­tally break wind in the driver’s face.”

De­spite his com­plaints about grow­ing old, Mr. Moore aged grace­fully and ac­knowl­edged that he has had an in­ter­est­ing and fun-filled life with a lov­ing fam­ily and many friends. Sur­vived by his wife Kristina and three chil­dren, he con­tin­ues to en­ter­tain mil­lions through his films, TV pro­grams and books.

Mr. Moore’s many fans will en­joy “A Bientot,” as will those look­ing for a bit of hu­mor and nos­tal­gia.

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