Sir Roger Moore the Saintly Persuader with a licence to charm passes away at the age of 89. Roger Moore's family have issued a statement that the British icon has sadly passed away in Switzerland after a "short but brave battle with cancer".
Roger Moore will probably always be linked to the James Bond franchise for his performances in 7 James Bond films between 1973 and 1985 including Live and Let Die (1973), The Man With a Golden Gun (1974) and Moonraker (1979). Moore bought to the role his own special magic, heavy on the humour and light on the moody seriousness that Connery and later Daniel Craig brought to the role.
Stardom was a long and winding road for Moore which began after a brief stint in the army, after which he took on what work he could find including knitwear modelling and toothpaste ads. It wasn't until 1954 that Moore signed a 7-year contract with MGM, however it was a stop-start beginning which ended with the contract being terminated after just 2 years.
By the late 1950's Moore's career seemed to pick up pace with television work quickly becoming his forte. Ivanhoe (1958-59) The Alaskans (1959-60) Maverick (1960-61) and lastly the role he will eternally be remembered for The Saint (1962-69). The Saint was perhaps the role he was born to play, joking in later days that the role was originally meant for Sean Connery who was sadly otherwise engaged. It was during his tenure as Simon Templar that the possibility of James Bond was first proposed as the similarities were obvious to all.
Before accepting the Bond role Moore teamed up with Hollywood legend Tony Curtis to star in the Persuaders (1971-72). Moore was paid handsomely for this venture making him the highest paid TV actor in the world at the time.
After the Persuaders came James Bond the role Moore was to make his own. Moore was the oldest actor to ever play Bond being 45 when he began and 58 when he resigned and also the longest running Bond to date.
Post Bond, Moore concentrated on his charity work with UNICEF which he had been introduced to by Audrey Hepburn. It is this work for which Moore considered to be his greatest achievement.
The family statement upon his passing expresses the love and loss felt the world over.
"The love with which he was surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified with words alone,"
"We know our own love and admiration will be magnified many times over, across the world, by people who knew him for his films, his television shows and his passionate work for UNICEF which he considered to be his greatest achievement."
"The affection our father felt whenever he walked onto a stage or in front of a camera buoyed him hugely and kept him busy working into his 90th year, through to his last appearance in November 2016 on stage at London's Royal Festival Hall."
"The capacity crowd cheered him on and off stage, shaking the very foundations of the building just a short distance from where he was born."
"Thank you Pops for being you, and for being so very special to so many people. Our thoughts must now turn to supporting Kristina at this difficult time, and in accordance with our father's wishes there will be a private funeral in Monaco."
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