Sir Roger Moore, the actor who played James Bond in more films than any other, has died in Switzerland at the age of 89, his family announced in a statement posted on his official Twitter account.
From 1973 until 1985, Moore starred as 007 in Live and Let Die (1973), 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).
However, those who really knew the legendary actor will tell you that his passionate work for UNICEF is what he considered his greatest achievement. In 1991 he became a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and in 2003 was knighted by the Queen for his charitable efforts.
Moore was born on Oct. 14, 1927, in London to George Alfred Moore and Lillian Pope. He excelled at school and showed particular interest in art and drawing. In 1943 he went to work for Publicity Picture Productions, where he became an animation apprentice at the age of 15.
I’ve been an exceedingly lucky actor, and the luck of it all was that I was able to come and work for UNICEF. Working with UNICEF has taught me humility.
Sir Roger Moore, actor, UNICEF goodwill ambassador, author
He began an acting career that spanned over seven decades, beginning in 1944 when he made his debut in Caesar and Cleopatra. Co-director Brian Desmond Hurst was the first to see Moore’s acting potential, so impressed by his looks and talent that he decided to help him enter the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.
In 1945, at the age of 18, Moore was conscripted into Britain’s National Service and he spent the next three years in the military. Upon returning to London, Moore started working as a model for knitwear and other products and in 1950 he made his first television appearance in the series Drawing Room Detective.
He was only 26 years old when he moved to the United States, where he quickly landed a role on TV’s World By the Tail. The young actor signed a contract with MGM for $250 a week and the doors of Hollywood seemed to be wide open for him. In 1954, Moore appeared with Elizabeth Taylor in The Last Time I Saw Paris, and in the next two years he appeared in three more movies, including The King’s Thief and Diane.
Moore gained even more popularity when he appeared as Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe in the 1958–59 series Ivanhoe and later featured in The Alaskans and Maverick. However, the role that made him a household name and paved his way to the iconic 007 gig was the role of Simon Templar in The Saint.
Although he was more famous on TV than on the big screen, Moore was the natural successor to Sean Connery for the role of the British super-spy James Bond. It is rumored that Ian Fleming suggested him for the role of the original Bond, but producers didn’t agree because Moore looked too young at the time.
In 1973, Moore made his Bond debut in Live and Let Die, portraying a lighter and more humorous character than Connery or George Lazenby. In a 2014 interview with NPR’s Scott Simon, Moore said that he looked like a comedic lover compared to Connery and Daniel Craig, who looked like brutal killers in their films.
Over the next 12 years, Moore would appear in six more Bond movies before he hung up 007’s license to kill with A View to a Kill.
Moore starred in many other films but was always identified with the iconic Bond role. In 2016 he appeared on the big screen for the last time in János Edelényi’s The Carer.
He spent 26 years as a devoted UNICEF goodwill ambassador and worked tirelessly for the rights of children. In 2008 Moore was named a commander in France’s National Order of Arts and Letters for his charitable efforts, and according to Al Jazeera he considered this honor to be worth “more than an Oscar”.
Moore’s autobiography, My Word Is My Bond, which was published in 2008, clearly shows why he is considered by many to be the best James Bond, but it also shows that he was much more than just that character.
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The spy we all loved who killed the man with the golden gun for our eyes only, lived and let die. The world will miss a magnificent Bond and a genuine hero. Farewell, Sir Roger Moore!