Sir Roger George Moore, KBE, the screen actor best known for his suave, yet good-humored portrayal of British Secret Service Agent James Bond, following Sean Connery’s early break out performances, has died at 89, following a battle with cancer.
Tall, handsome, quintessentially British, with a sophisticated demeanor and a dash of comic timing, Roger Moore won over James Bond fans at a difficult juncture, after the early golden years of Sean Connery, a legendary performer who introduced the classic Ian Flemming character to the silver screen. Moore’s first Bond film was “Live and Let Die,” in 1973, and he starred in a total of 7 Bond films through 1985.
Prior to his role as Agent 007, Moore gained acclaim playing Secret Agent Simon Templar on television’s “The Saint,” between 1962 and 1969, a role which was excellent preparation for his work on the big screen to come.
Though Moore earned fame and fortune thanks to his on-screen work, he considered his philanthropic efforts for UNICEF to be his life’s greatest achievement. He was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1991, and was Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2003, in recognition of his dedication to charitable work. In addition, the French Government conferred a great honor, appointing him as a Commander in the prestigious Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Moore attended Launceston College, and worked briefly in the field of animation. His father, a police officer, worked on a robbery case at the home of director Brian Desmond Hurst, who gave the young Moore his first film role as an extra in the 1945 movie “Caesar and Cleopatra.” Hurst also paid Moore’s tuition at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and so was instrumental in helping the young actor develop his skill-set and launch his early career.