Sir Roger Moore KBE
English actor Sir Roger George Moore KBE sadly died 23 May 2017 following a short battle with cancer. He was born 14 October 1927 in Stockwell, London. He attended Battersea Grammar School, but was evacuated to Holsworthy, Devon, during the Second World War, and attended Launceston College school. He was further educated at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School in Amersham, Buckinghamshire and then attended the College of the Venerable Bede at the University of Durham, but did not graduate. At 18, shortly after the end of the Second World War, Moore was conscripted for national service. On 21 September 1946, he was commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps as a second lieutenant. He was promoted to captain, commanding a small depot in West Germany and also oversaw entertainers for the armed oforces passing through Hamburg. Immediately prior to his national service, he studied for two terms at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, during which his fees were paid by film director Brian Desmond Hurst, who also used Moore as an extra in his film Trottie True. At RADA, Moore was a classmate of his future Bond co-star Lois Maxwell, (Miss Moneypenny) Moore left RADA after six months in order to seek paid employment as an actor. At the age of 17 Moore appeared as an extra in the film Caesar and Cleopatra alongside Stewart Granger (1945).
During the early 1950s, Moore worked as a model, appearing in print advertisements for knitwear (earning him the amusing nickname “The Big Knit”). Moore’s first television appearance was in 1949 in The Governess by Patrick Hamilton, portraying Bob Drew alongside Clive Morton and Betty Ann Davies. Moore signed with MGM in 1954, appearing in Interrupted Melody—billed third under Glenn Ford and Eleanor Parker—a biographical movie about an opera singer’s recovery from polio and in The King’s Thief starring Ann Blyth, Edmund Purdom, David Niven and George Sanders. He appeared In the 1956 film Diane, portraying Prince Henri alongside Lana Turner and Pedro Armendariz. He also appeared in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents in 1959 titled “The Avon Emeralds and starred in The Miracle (1959), alongside Carroll Baker. Moore Moore also appeared in “The Angry Young Man”, an episode of the television series The Third Man starring Michael Rennie as criminal mastermind Harry Lime.
Moore appeared as, Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe, in the TV 1958–59 series Ivanhoe, adapted from Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 romantic novel. Set during the era of Richard the Lionheart, and focussing on Ivanhoe’s conflict with Prince John. The series also featured Robert Brown as the squire Gurth, Peter Gilmore as Waldo Ivanhoe, Andrew Keir as villainous Prince John, and Bruce Seton as noble King Richard. Christopher Lee and John Schlesinger were also among the show’s guest stars. Moore also portrayed “Silky” Harris in the 1959–60 western The Alaskans, set during the Klondike Gold Rush around 1896, alongside Dorothy Provine as Rocky, Jeff York as Reno and Ray Danton as Nifty. He then appeared as “14 Karat John” in the two-part episode “Right Off the Boat” in the drama The Roaring 20s, with Rex Reason, John Dehner, Gary Vinson and Dorothy Provine.
Moore was then cast as Beau Maverick, the English cousin of frontier gamblers Bret Maverick (James Garner), Bart Maverick (Jack Kelly) and Brent Maverick (Robert Colbert) in the series Maverick, debuting as Beau Maverick in “The Bundle From Britain”. He also appeared with Garner, as a different character in a retooling of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 1775 comedy of manners play entitled “The Rivals”. Director Robert Altman wrote and directed the episode “Bolt from the Blue” featuring Will Hutchins as a frontier lawyer plus Lee Van Cleef and John Carradine as vicious bank robbers. Leading ladies included Kathleen Crowley Mala Powers, Roxane Berard, Fay Spain, Merry Anders, Andra Martin and Jeanne Cooper.
In 1962 Lew Grade cast Moore as Simon Templar in a new and highly successful adaptation of The Saint, based on the novels by Leslie Charteris. This gave Moore international stardom and established his suave, quipping style. Moore also directed several episodes of the later series. The Saint ran from 1962 for six seasons and 118 episodes. Moore also appeared in two films: Crossplot, and The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970) Directed by Basil Dearden. Between 1971 and 1972 Moore starred alongside Tony Curtis in 24 episodes of The Persuaders! Featuring the adventures of two millionaire playboys across Europe. Both True Entertainment andChannel 4 have since repeated The Avengers and The Persuaders!
In 1964 Moore made a guest appearance as suave British Secret Agent James Bond in the comedy series Mainly Millicen. By 1966 Moore became aware that he might be a contender for the role. However, George Lazenby was cast in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Connery played Bond again in Diamonds Are Forever 1971. Moore was approached, took over the role of Bond from Sean Connery in 1972, and made his first appearance as 007 in Live and Let Die becoming the third actor to portray Bond, after Sean Connery and George Lazenby. Moore portrayed Bond as a debonair playboy with of sense of humour and a skilled detective with a cunning mind. Following Live and Let Die, Moore continued to portray Bond 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). In 2004, Moore was voted ‘Best Bond’ in an Academy Awards poll, and he won with 62% of votes in another poll in 2008. In 1987 he hosted Happy Anniversary 007: 25 Years of James Bond.
Moore also starred in Gold alongside Susannah York, and also portrayed an adventurer in Africa opposite Lee Marvin in Shout at the Devil (1976), a commando alongside Richard Burton, Stewart Granger and Richard Harris in the The Wild Geese (1978), a counter-terrorism expert opposite Anthony Perkins in the thriller North Sea Hijack (1979), an obsessed millionaire who looks like Roger Moore in Cannonball Run (1981) and posed as a famous movie star, in Curse of the Pink Panther (credited as “Turk Thrust II). In1990 he appeared in the films My Riviera and Bed & Breakfast. He also appeared in the The Quest and portrayed the Chief in Spice World. Between 1998 and 2002 he starred in all four ITV Pantos: Jack and the Beanstalk; Cinderella; Aladdin and Dick Whittington as Baron Wasteland; the Master of Ceremonies; Widow Twankey and The Mayor And played an amorous homosexual man in Boat Trip. The British comedy show Spitting Image also parodied Roger Moore in the spoof, The Man with the Wooden Delivery, featuring James Bond, Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev. Moore appeared in an advertisement for the Post Office in 2009 and portrayed a secret agent in the Victoria Wood Christmas Special whose mission was to eliminate another agent who looked like Pierce Brosnan. In 2010 Moore provided the voice for Lazenby in Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. In 2011 Moore co-starred in the film A Princess for Christmas with Katie McGrath and Sam Heughan and also guest-hosted Have I Got News For You.
In 1991 he was Appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and was the voice of Father Christmas or ‘Santa’ in the 2004 UNICEF cartoon The Fly Who Loved Me. He was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and advanced to Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) on 14 June 2003. The citation on the knighthood was for Moore’s charity work. In 2008, the French government appointed Moore a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and he also receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 7007 Hollywood Boulevard becoming the 2,350th star installed. In 2012, Moore was awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Hertfordshire, for his outstanding contributions to the UK film and television industry for over 50 years. Moore was also named one of GQ’s fifty best dressed British men and he read Hans Christian Andersen’s “Little Claus and Big Claus” for the children’s fairytales app GivingTales in aid of UNICEF, together with a number of other British celebrities, including Michael Caine, Ewan McGregor, Joan Collins, Stephen Fry, Joanna Lumley, David Walliams, Charlotte Rampling and Paul McKenna. Moore was also involved in the production of a video for PETA that protests against the production and wholesale of foie gras.
Sadly Moore was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2013, which left him unable to drink martinis. He had to learn to walk again after a bout of pneumonia, and had a pacemaker fitted after collapsing on stage. He will be sadly missed.