Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tribute: Sir Roger Moore (1927-2017)

I am reeling from the news, just reported, that Sir Roger Moore (1927-2017), has passed away following a short struggle with cancer.  

It was just a few short weeks ago here on the blog that I answered a question from a reader about why Roger Moore was, in some ways, the critical factor in the survival of the 007 film series in its second decade.

I  have appreciated his film performances as 007 since I was ten years old.

Indeed, I grew up with Roger Moore as James Bond, and the first Bond film I saw in theaters was 1979's Moonraker.  Right from the start, I loved Moore's humor and grace in the role of 007, and I have always felt that his contributions to the franchise were wildly (and grossly) underestimated.

Moore truly made the character his own, instead of attempting to ape Sean Connery's performances, and that choice by Moore, I believe, contributed immeasurably to the longevity of the character. That choice also paved the way for the interpretations of Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig.

Sir Roger Moore played the role of Bond in a total seven films, from 1973-1985.

These films are: 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).

For Your Eyes Only is, for me, a high point for Moore's era as 007. I actually liked his interpretation of Bond even more as the actor aged. As he grew older, Moore brought in a kind of world-weariness to go along with the arched eyebrows and white dinner jacket. I found this approach enormously appealing, as it added gravitas to the charm and humor.

Sir Roger Moore's long career encompassed more than 007, of course. He starred in TV series such as Ivanhoe (1958-1959), The Alaskan (1959-1960), Maverick (1960-1961), The Saint (1962-1967), and The Persuaders (1971-1972).  

Outside of acting, Sir Roger Moore is well-known as a humanitarian, and for many years served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.

He was a secret agent at the movies, but a superhero of sorts, in real life. He will be greatly missed.

Farewell, Mr. Bond.


  1. Very sad news. While I have always preferred Connery's Bond, that was no slight to Moore, who did a wonderful job and is, as you say, vital to the franchise continuing. For awhile, BBC America was running his Saint series, and you could truly appreciate his skill comparing what he did there with what he did on both Maverick and Ivanhoe.

    Toby O'Brien, who maintains the Toobworld Blog, shared this skit once on his site: http://toobworld.blogspot.com/2012/12/as-seen-on-tv-james-bond-back-for-moore.html. At the time, I suspect it was kind of like the Pierce Brosnan Diet Coke ads that were made before he was cast as 007--he's a good-looking Brit who can evoke Bond, but it becomes even better when you consider the casting that was to come. It also reminds me of when he was the host of The Muppet Show and ends up fighting off villains who confuse Moore with the character of Bond, and he nonchalantly dispatches them while singing "Talk to the Animals."

  2. Sad news indeed. I always wondered if the Bond producers saw what the producers of Doctor Who already understood...that you didn't need to hire a clone of the original actor for the show to remain popular, you only needed to find the right actor who could bring their own interpretation to the role.

    As you mentioned, hiring Moore as 007 and allowing him to bring a slightly more playful and less sinister interpretation to the part was a very wise move indeed, allowing the series to continue for decades rather than years.

    I'm so sorry to hear that he died from cancer but am grateful that it was quick and hopefully he didn't suffer for long.

  3. Farewell Sir Moore.

  4. woodchuckgod1:40 PM

    Sad news indeed. Like you, Moonraker was my first Bond film and I have a soft spot for it, and Moore was always my original Bond.

    Thanks for the tribute.

  5. Sheri6:18 PM

    Damn. I grew up watching Roger Moore on "The Saint" and "The Persuaders". Moore was one of those veddy British actors who, like David Niven and Michael York, somehow played to American audiences as if he were a kind of hybrid American-Brit, as if he and we were all in on a joke together. He seemed classier than we were (than anybody was, really) but somehow less than fully upper-crust in his home country. Moore was a better actor than he was ever given credit for, perhaps because he was so infused with self-deprecating humor. He was so willing to be punctured he did it himself, all the time, and perhaps this made it hard for people to take him as seriously as he deserved to be taken as an actor.

    Roger Moore could act, in fact--it's just that he so rarely was given a chance to do so. I liked his older, wizened jetsetter as Bond, too, and if "A View to a Kill" hadn't been so completely mishandled more people might share that opinion. It certainly wasn't Moore's fault that the risible "Moonraker" exists. If you've never seen "Ffolkes", one of the few non-Bond movies he did during his Bond era, you should see it.

  6. Excellent tribute to my favorite Bond. I was lucky enough to meet him a couple of times ... and he was thoroughly charming. Just what you would expect.