Drinks that are shaken, not stirred. Suits worth a million bucks. Guns and the latest gadgets in tow. The impeccable British accent. This was Sir Roger Moore, who played British secret agent James Bond for more than a decade. On Tuesday, Moore died of cancer in Switzerland. He was 89.
His family took to social media to announce his death, along with a heartfelt message about the actor, who was also a UNICEF ambassador, an author and, as described by his children Deborah, Geoffrey, and Christian – their “beloved pops”.
With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated. pic.twitter.com/6dhiA6dnVg
— Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) May 23, 2017A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Roger Moore’s first tryst with acting began as an extra in film director Brian Desmond Hurst’s 1949 British musical comedy Trottie True. He further went on to play an extra in the film Caesar and Cleopatra (1945), meeting his idol Stewart Granger on the set.
At the age of 18, Roger enlisted with the National Service and rose up the ranks to second lieutenant, and finally, captain. After that, he took up modelling and appeared in various advertisements, for products like toothpaste and knitwear.
Although Roger signed a seven-year contract with MGM in 1954, the films that followed were not successful. In his own words, he said: “At MGM, RGM (Roger George Moore) was NBG [no bloody good].”
Roger eventually made his way through television, starring as Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe in the 1958–59 series Ivanhoe, a loose adaptation of the 1819 romantic novel of the same name by Sir Walter Scott. He also had a role in The Alaskans and Maverick for a year each, until he moved to The Saint, where he played Simon Templar, based on the novels by Leslie Charteris.
His next television role was in The Persuaders! which ran between 1971 and 1972. The show was about the adventures of two millionaire playboys across Europe. Moore, at that time, was paid £1 million for a single series, making him the highest paid television actor in the world.
A year later, he became James Bond.
Incidentally, in 1964, he made a guest appearance as James Bond in the comedy series Mainly Millicent. But only after Sir Sean Connery announced that he wouldn’t play James Bond anymore in 1966 did Roger realise that he could be a possible contender for the role.
After losing weight and imposing dietary restrictions on himself, he was finally cast as James Bond in Live and Let Die (1973), and was known to be the oldest actor to have played Bond. He was also in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974); The Spy Who Loved Me (1977); Moonraker (1979); For Your Eyes Only (1981); Octopussy (1983); and A View to a Kill (1985).
At the age of 58 in 1985, Roger retired from the Bond series. It took him five years to get back on the silver screen.
His other films include Boat Trip (2002), where he played a horny homosexual man. He was appreciated for his comic timing in the film.
Impressed by Audrey Hepburn, who introduced him to UNICEF, Roger became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1991. He was also involved in the production of a video for PETA, which was made in protest against the production and wholesale of foie gras.
Before he succumbed to cancer on Tuesday, Roger had suffered several health and death scares in the past. In 1993, Moore was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and underwent successful surgery. In 2012, Moore was treated for skin cancer several times. He was also diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2013.
He wrote three books, one about filming titled Live and Let Live, an autobiography titled My Word Is My Bond, and another based on his time as James Bond, titled Bond On Bond.
He is survived by his wife Kristina Tholstrup, and three children.
Celebrities across the world posted tributes:
— Sanjeev Bhaskar (@TVSanjeev) May 23, 2017
@sirrogermoore There is nothing glamorous about death.
But in life, sir, you excelled.A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Farewell, and so long.
— James Whatley (@Whatleydude) May 23, 2017
Roger Moore , loved him
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) May 23, 2017
Few are as kind & giving as was Roger Moore. Loving thoughts w his family & friends. He will be missed too by UNICEF pic.twitter.com/fYAEUqAaaw
— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) May 23, 2017
Feature Image: Moviefone