Deb­o­rah Moore re­mem­bers her 007 dad

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GROW­ING UP WITH James Bond for a fa­ther was as mor­ti­fy­ing as it was won­der­ful. I used to ask to be dropped at the school gates by a friend’s par­ents rather than suf­fer the hu­mil­i­a­tion of the girls at my con­vent school crowd­ing around Dad and pes­ter­ing him be­fore lessons. On the sur­face I was em­bar­rassed by his fame, but, se­cretly, I couldn’t have been more proud.

My favourite thing in the world was to go and visit Dad on set. I still re­mem­ber the bub­ble of ex­cite­ment when my mother, Luisa, would pick me up from school and take me to El­stree Stu­dios in the af­ter­noon, where he was film­ing The

Saint. There he would be, sit­ting chat­ting with the crew. I would run up and jump into his arms and he’d put me on a stool so that I could look through the cam­era lens and see what he was do­ing.

Here we are on the set of [the ad­ven­ture series] The Per­suaders! in 1971, with Tony Cur­tis, who Dad was di­rect­ing in that episode. It was a cou­ple of years be­fore Bond, I was only eight, and to my de­light had been asked to ap­pear in a scene. It was one where Tony Cur­tis is kid­napped and when he is even­tu­ally dis­cov­ered they re­trace his steps, blind­fold­ing him to find out if he can re­call hear­ing any­thing in par­tic­u­lar while he was held cap­tive. He re­mem­bers a noise like a clack­ing sound, which was me, a school­girl run­ning my ruler along the rail­ings on my way home. They stop the car and there I am with my ruler. Dad and Tony get out and say, ‘Do you walk this road every day?’ and I say, ‘Yes I do’, and I think that was about all I had to do. Not ex­actly a star­ring role, but for eight-year-old me – who at this point al­ready had the act­ing bug – it was such a thrill!

I was ab­so­lutely in my el­e­ment that day. I re­mem­ber my mother was there and she was fuss­ing, telling me what to do in Ital­ian. I shouted at her, ‘ Mummy, s hut up, Daddy ’s the di­rec­tor!’ The en­tire crew de­scended into fits of laugh­ter, while I smiled sweetly, and ex­pected a stern talk­ing to when I got home.

We got into ter­ri­ble trou­ble with my school once the episo de was aired. I think they weren’t too happy to see the uni­form blazer on telly.

Dad’s PA found this pic­ture in the ar­chives last year and gave it to me for my birth­day. Dad couldn’t be­lieve it when he saw it. ‘Look at my hair! Look how fat I was!’ he laughed. He had to slim down for Bond two years af­ter this was taken – I would come down to break­fast to find him do­ing press-ups on three fin­gers.

It has been nearly four months since Dad died, and I miss ev­ery­thing about him. I miss the mes­sages he us e d to leave on my an­swer­ing ma­chine every day, ask­ing me im­pa­tiently where I could be at that hour. I miss his hu­mour and his warmth. He was a won­der­ful fa­ther and friend be­cause he was so down to earth. Dad never had any airs or graces. He was a true star, be­cause he wasn’t one. — In­ter­view by Eleanor Steafel. A Bien­tôt… by Roger Moore (Michael O’mara, £12.99) is out now

We got into ter­ri­ble trou­ble with my school. I think they weren’t too happy to see the uni­form blazer on telly

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