Sir Roger Moore, the British actor who followed Sean Connery into the world of MI6 as James Bond, has died at the age of 89 following a short battle with cancer.
It was announced by his family on Moore’s official Twitter account.
The man with the golden eyebrows, Moore’s career in the spotlight saw beginnings as a knitwear model. After signing with MGM in 1954, he appeared in several films, none of which were particularly successful.
Unruffled, Moore pursued TV roles, moving quickly from bit parts in such series as Alfred Hitchcock Presents to starring roles. His first starring role was in Ivanhoe, as the titular hero Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe. The Alaskans and the more successful Maverick followed, before the big one – The Saint. Moore’s six-season stint as Simon Templar brought him international stardom, leading him to try the big screen again – but to little success.
Moore was soon lured back to television, becoming the then highest-paid TV star in the world with a role opposite Tony Curtis in The Persuaders!, a series following the exploits of two playboys across Europe.
While hardly unsuccessful, Moore’s career was about to go supernova. In 1972, James Bond producer Albert Broccoli offered the role of 007 to the 45-year-old Moore, who first starred as the suave super-spy in 1973’s Live and Let Die, bringing his own brand of spirited wit to the role.
Moore found his own niche as Bond, with a successful run of films from The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983) to A View to a Kill (1985). Despite labelling himself as “the fourth best Bond”, polls over the years have indicated that he remains the favourite 007 of many.
Despite Bond being what Moore will most be remembered for, other movies such as Gold (1974), Shout at the Devil (1976), The Wild Geese (1979) and North Sea Hijack (1979) extend his legacy. He also had a heap of fun in Burt Reynolds’ crazy cross-country race Cannonball Run (1981), playing a millionaire obsessed with looking like Roger Moore. This sense of playfulness extended through to 1997 and a small role in pop chicks the Spice Girls’ flick Spice World.
Moore didn’t do a lot of onscreen work after his Bond era, however he was hardly idle. Inspired by Audrey Hepburn, Moore became a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in 1991, working tirelessly for the charity both onscreen and off. It was for this work that he was knighted in 2003.
By Moore’s own admission, “You can either grow old gracefully or begrudgingly. I chose both.” Vale Roger Moore.