Sir Roger Moore RIP
Sir Roger Moore has died aged 89 at his home in Switzerland. Sir Roger is the first James Bond actor to die, and once placed himself, half jokingly, at only fourth in the list of best Bond portrayals, after Daniel Craig, Sean Connery and George Lazenby.
In truth Roger Moore was one of the best Bonds and was cast in some of the best adaptations of the Ian Fleming novels, including the masterful Live and Let Die. Before Bond, Moore had had plenty of other roles under his belt, including The Saint and The Persuaders, in which he played Lord Brett Sinclair alongside Tony Curtis as Danny Wilde. The series opened with a fist fight between the two men over how many olives belong in a Creole Scream cocktail and continued in the same vein, paving the way for Moore to play his suave playboy version of James Bond in 1973 with Live and Let Die. Sometimes accused of making the character too light-hearted, Moore defended this by saying “My whole reaction was always – he is not a real spy. You can’t be a real spy and have everybody in the world know who you are and what your drink is. That’s just hysterically funny.”
Sartorially, Moore is often criticised as popularising the safari suit during his Bond outings, when in truth he had far more stylish leanings. He wore the safari suits a few times, in appropriate tropical settings such as in The Man with the Golden Gun, but of course would never be seen in Town in one. When cast as Bond, Moore brought his own personal tailors Doug Hayward and Cyril Castle to dress him for the part. The wide lapels and slightly flared trousers were simply tropes of the decade; Moore’s double-breasted cream dinner jacket, also in The Man with the Golden Gun, is faultless and was made by Cyril Castle.
When Moore was satirised by Spitting Image as an actor who only shows emotion via his eyebrows, Sir Roger had already admitted this in an interview: “Acting? It was left eyebrow raised, right eyebrow raised.” His gentlemanly modesty never faltered and he was mercifully free of the sort of ego usually associated with actors. When Amy Winehouse namechecked him on one of her lyrics, Sir Roger responded with “I probably just rhymed with door. Or she couldn’t find anything to rhyme with Connery.” The actor was always prouder of his work as an goodwill ambassador for UNICEF than his acting career, and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire on December 31, 1998 in the New Years Honours for services to UNICEF, and then promoted to Knight Commander of the same order on June 14, 2003 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the charities UNICEF and Kiwanis International.
Sir Roger Moore
14 October 1927–23 May 2017