Roger Moore

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Sir Roger Moore as James Bond, 007
<tr valign="top"><th style="text-align:right;">Spouse</th> <td>Doorn van Steyn; Dorothy Squires; Luisa Mattioli (three children); Kristina Tholstrup</td></tr>
Sir Roger Moore
Born 14 October, 1927
Image:Flag of England.svg Stockwell, London, England, UK
For other persons named Roger Moore, see Roger Moore (disambiguation).

Sir Roger George Moore KBE (born 14 October 1927) is an English actor known for his suave and witty demeanor. He is best known for portraying two fictional British action heroes, Simon Templar in the television series The Saint from 1962 to 1969, and, as Sean Connery's successor to the role of James Bond in the successful film series from 1973 to 1985. He has been a UNICEF ambassador since 1991.


[edit] Biography

[edit] Early life

Moore was born in Stockwell, London, the son of Lillian Pope and George Moore, a policeman. He attended Battersea Grammar School. During World War II, he served in the entertainment branch (under luminaries such as Spike Milligan). There was a brief stint at RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), during which his fees were paid for by flamboyant, openly gay film director Brian Desmond Hurst, who also used Moore as an extra in his film Trottie True. He first appeared in films in the 1940s, as an extra.

[edit] Early career and The Saint

During the early 1950s, Moore worked as a male model, appearing in print advertisements for as wide a range of products as toothpaste and knitwear, something which many critics have used as typifying his lightweight credentials as an actor. His earliest known television appearance, at a time when the BBC was the only channel, was on May 27 1950, in Drawing Room Detective, a one-off programme. Presented by veteran BBC announcer Leslie Mitchell, it invited viewers at home to spot clues to a crime during a playlet, whose actors included Alec Ross (first husband of Sheila Hancock), Michael Ripper, and Moore. Barring interviews, he has not worked for BBC television since.

Although Moore won a contract with MGM in the 1950s, the films which followed were not a success and, in his own words, "At MGM, RGM (Roger George Moore) was NBG [no bloody good]". His starring role in The Miracle, a version of the play Das Mirakel for Warner Bros., had been turned down by Dirk Bogarde. Eventually, it was television which made his name. He was the eponymous hero in the serial Ivanhoe, a very loose adaptation of Sir Walter Scott's romantic novel, and he also appeared in the series The Alaskans. He also played an English cousin of James Garner as television's Maverick, the Wild West gambler.

It was not until 1961 that worldwide fame arrived, when Lew Grade cast him as Simon Templar in a new adaptation of The Saint novels by Leslie Charteris. The television series was made in the UK with an eye on the American market, and its success there (and in other countries) made Moore a household name. It also established his suave, quipping style which he would carry forward to James Bond. Moore would also go on to direct several episodes of the later series, which moved into colour in 1967. The opinion has often been expressed that the monochrome episodes of the series, which were closer adaptations of Charteris' work, were superior to the colour episodes, which displayed a stronger leaning towards fantasy and were arguably trying too hard to imitate other shows of that time.[citation needed]

The Saint ran for seven years and 118 episodes, making it (with The Avengers) the longest-running series of its kind on British television. Moore however grew increasingly tired of the role, and was keen to branch out. He made two films immediately after The Saint ended: Crossplot, a lightweight "spy caper" movie, and the more challenging The Man Who Haunted Himself (1971). Directed by Basil Dearden, it gave Moore the opportunity to demonstrate a wider versatility than the role of Simon Templar had allowed, although the reviews at the time were lukewarm and it did little business at the box office.

Image:The Persuaders.jpg
Moore and Tony Curtis in The Persuaders! (1971/72).

Television lured him back however, to star in what has become another "cult" series, The Persuaders!, alongside Tony Curtis. Even more light-hearted in tone than The Saint, it featured the adventures of two millionaire playboys across Europe. It was for this series that Moore was paid the then unheard-of sum of one million pounds for a single series, making him the highest paid television actor in the world. However as Lew Grade admitted in his autobiography Still Dancing, Moore and Curtis "didn't hit it off all that well", Curtis refusing to spend more time on set than was strictly necessary, while Moore was always willing to work overtime. The series failed in America, where it had been pre-sold to ABC, and an article in TV Zone magazine has alleged that, on its premiere in Britain on the ITV network, it was beaten in the ratings by repeats of Monty Python's Flying Circus on BBC1. When Channel 4 repeated both The Avengers and The Persuaders! in 1995, it was generally agreed that the latter, which had not been seen for many years, had not aged as well as the former. It has not been seen on any of the five main UK terrestrial channels since. [1]

Since then, The Persuaders has enjoyed something of a renaissance both on television and DVD, with the "rivals" Moore and Curtis reuniting to provide commentaries on the most recent issues. In France, where the series (entitled Amicalement Vôtre) had always been popular, the DVD releases accompanied a monthly magazine of the same name.

[edit] James Bond

Moore playing James Bond in a 1964 episode of Mainly Millicent, nine years before officially landing the role

There are many apocryphal stories as to when Moore's name was first dropped as a possible candidate for the role of James Bond. Some sources, specifically Albert R. Broccoli from his autobiography When The Snow Melts, claim that Moore was considered for Dr. No, and that he was Ian Fleming's favorite for the role after apparently having seen Moore as Simon Templar in The Saint; however, this story is often debunked by fans and Bond-film historians, who point to the fact that the series did not begin airing in the United Kingdom until October 4, 1962 - only one day before the premiere of Dr. No.

Other sources, such as the insert for the special edition DVDs, claim that Moore was passed over for Bond in favour of someone who was older. As Moore is older than Sean Connery, this is probably not true. Publicly, Moore wasn't linked to the role of 007 until 1967, when Harry Saltzman claimed he would make a good Bond, but also displayed misgivings due to his popularity as Simon Templar. Nevertheless, Moore was finally cast as James Bond in Live and Let Die (1973).

Roger Moore's seven years as Simon Templar earned him enough popularity (and credibility) among fans of detective fiction to earn many Bond fans' acceptance, despite the inevitable comparisons to Connery, who was and is a friend of Moore. Moore played Bond in:

To date, Moore is the longest-serving James Bond actor, having spent twelve years in the role (from his debut in 1973, to his retirement from the role in 1985), and made seven official films. (Connery also made seven, but his last Bond film, Never Say Never Again (1983), is not part of the official EON Productions Bond series.) He is also the oldest actor to play Bond: he was 45 when he debuted, and 58 when he announced his retirement on December 3, 1985, as it was agreed by all involved that Moore was too old for the role by that point. Moore himself was quoted in the contemporary press as saying that he felt embarrassed to be seen doing love scenes with actresses young enough to be his daughters. [citation needed]

Moore's James Bond was light-hearted, more so than any other official actor to portray the character. Connery's style, even in its lighter moments, was that of a focused, determined agent. Moore often portrayed 007 as somewhat of a playboy, with tongue firmly in cheek. The humor served Moore and his fans well through most of his Bond tenure. Fans also relished the moments when his Bond was all business, especially in the more intense parts of The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, and Octopussy (when, despite wearing a clown get-up, he defuses a bomb). Despite all the commercial success, some Bond fans were unhappy at Moore continuing to play the character until his late-fifties with a consensus that For Your Eyes Only (1981) should have been his Bond swansong, by which time he was almost 54 at the time of filming. It is generally agreed that of the six actors to have played Bond, Moore's portrayal was the furthest removed from the character created by Ian Fleming. Moore has also been blamed by some for turning the Bond character into a parody of himself. His role in Cannonball Run (1981) amounts to elaborate self-parody: he plays a dentist, Seymour Goldfarb Jr., who believes himself to be Roger Moore in the James Bond role.

[edit] Later career and UNICEF

Moore has had and continues to have an enormous fanbase worldwide, particularly in Western Europe and in the USA, and, as James Bond, was undeniably one of the film world's top box office stars throughout the 1970's. However, those fans of his from outside the UK have often been surprised and disappointed to find that, in Britain, he is not critically respected (in the way that Anthony Hopkins and indeed, Sean Connery are), and has sometimes been viewed as a joke figure, in the way Americans regard David Hasselhoff or William Shatner. He has never been popular with critics, who have often derided his acting as limited and wooden. In The Good Film and Video Guide (published 1986), David Shipman wrote of A View To A Kill that Moore as James Bond was "not so much like a piece of plastic as something embalmed but moving".

The satire show Spitting Image once had a sketch in which their latex likeness of Moore, when asked to display emotions by an offscreen director, does nothing but raise an eyebrow. Moore himself has stated that he thought the sketch was funny, and took it in good humour. That series later featured a Bond movie spoof, The Man With The Wooden Delivery, with Moore's puppet receiving orders from Margaret Thatcher to kill Mikhail Gorbachev, and many other comedy shows of that time ridiculed Moore's acting, Rory Bremner once claiming to have had a death threat from an irate fan of Moore's, following one such routine. Moore is a lifelong Conservative, and publicly supported the British Conservative Party in the 2001 General Election.

It can be argued that Moore is more of a personality than an actor. In the early 1970s, the BBC very much wanted him to host a talk show; in his own words, they "bent over backwards and offered a great deal of money". He declined the offer, which may have been given to Michael Parkinson instead, but after giving up the Bond role, has more often been seen hosting award ceremonies, guesting on talk shows and generally being himself, than actually acting.

However in 1983 Moore's professional life changed when filming in India. Shocked at the extreme poverty around him, he became interested in the Third World humanitarian effort. His friend Audrey Hepburn had impressed him with her work for UNICEF, and consequently he became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1991. He was the voice of "Santa" in the UNICEF cartoon The Fly Who Loved Me.[2]

Now in his late seventies, Moore appears only occasionally in film or television, notably as Lord Edgar Dobbs in The Quest in 1996 and an episode of the American TV series Alias, in 2002. In a commercial for London's 2012 Olympic bid, Moore once again suited up as James Bond. He appeared alongside Samantha Bond, who played Miss Moneypenny in the Pierce Brosnan series of Bond films. He still appears regularly on chat shows, chiefly to promote the work of UNICEF.

[edit] Personal life

Moore left his first wife, skater Doorn Van Steyn, for singer Dorothy Squires, who was several years his senior but was, at that time, considerably more famous than he was. In turn, while filming in Italy, he would abandon Squires (who sued him for attempted reinstatement of conjugal rites) for actress Luisa Mattioli, living with her until their marriage in 1969. Moore has a daughter and two sons with Mattioli; son Geoffrey Moore also is an actor and owns a restaurant in London. Daughter Deborah Moore made a guest appearance as a flight attendant in Die Another Day.

Again, he unexpectedly ended this marriage in 1996, later marrying Kristina Tholstrup, a Swedish beauty.

Moore was involved in the production of an informative video for PETA that protests against the production and wholesale of foie gras. Moore narrates the video, which shows how ducks and geese are force-fed in order to appease the demand for the delicacy.

Moore underwent major but successful surgery for prostate cancer in 1993, an event he later referred to as a life-changing experience. He had a pacemaker fitted after collapsing on stage in New York in 2003 during a performance of The Play What I Wrote. In 1999, Moore was created a Commander of the British Empire (CBE), and a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) on June 14, 2003.

The citation on the knighthood was for Moore's charity work, which has dominated his public life for more than a decade. In perhaps his final riposte to the critics, Moore said that the citation 'meant far more to me than if I had got it for acting... I was proud because I received it on behalf of UNICEF as a whole and for all it has achieved over the years'.

[edit] Publications

Roger Moore wrote a book about the filming of Live And Let Die, based on his diaries. Roger Moore As James Bond: Roger Moores's Own Account Of Filming Live And Let Die was published in London in 1973, by Pan Books. The book includes an acknowledgement to Sean Connery: 'I would also like to thank Sean Connery – with whom it would not have been possible.'

[edit] Footnotes

[edit] References


[edit] External links

Preceded by:
Sean Connery
James Bond actor
Succeeded by:
Timothy Dalton

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Roger Moore

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