Deborah Moore remembers her 007 dad
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