Sir Roger Moore is of course best known for being the third man to slip on 007’s iconic black tuxedo but his career began long before he ever slipped on that sleek black jacket.
Born in London, 1927, Moore was educated at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School in Amersham, Buckinghamshire before eventually heading to Durham University, although he did not graduate from the uni.
At age 18 he was conscripted for national service, serving as a lieutenant and later a captain in the Royal Army Service Corps. Ironically one of his duties was looking after the entertainers who came out to Germany to entertain the troops.
Upon returning from the war Moore began his career in showbiz as a model for knitwear (what else?) before eventually transitioning into smaller supporting roles in movies.
Unfortunately Moore’s lack of proper acting credentials meant his fellow actors often saw him as having lightweight credentials.
His big break came however not on the silver screen but on television and it was the role of Simon Templar in The Saint that propelled him to world wide fame. Roger worked tirelessly on The Saint producing and directing several episodes as well as starring in the show.
Of course it’s impossible to talk about Moore without talking about Bond, James Bond.
Moore’s tenure as the man with the license to kill began in 1973 and lasted until 1985, which makes him the longest serving Bond ever, but despite this unprecedented run in the role Moore wasn’t initially convinced he’d ever get to play the spy.
His commitment to his TV work meant he was unable to take the role when Sean Connery first retired, so he lost out to George Lazenby and when Connery returned to the role he was sure he’d missed his chance.
Thankfully though, fate intervened and when Connery retired for a second time producer Barabara Brocolli approached Moore about the role once again. He jumped at the chance and went on to become the most popular Bond ever.
Don’t take our word for it, take the word of The Academy who voted Moore the best Bond back in 2004.
Moore’s Bond was very different from the Bond’s that came before him, and was a radical departure from Ian Fleming’s version of the character, more of a cock sure, playboy than Connery’s version with a gadget up one sleeve and a witty one liner up the other.
Like any Bond, Moore had a few clunkers while in the role, most notably For Your Eyes Only but for the most part when people think of iconic Bond they think of Moore’s tenure in the role.
From outlandish moon bases to over the top super villains like the metal mouthed Jaws, Moore’s run had it all (we realise that moon bases and mute giants aren’t everything to everyone) .
It even had Moore wear a gorilla costume! I don’t think you’d get Daniel Craig doing that.
With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated. pic.twitter.com/6dhiA6dnVg
— Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) May 23, 2017
Of course no man can be Bond forever and Moore was no exception.
After he left the role Moore starred in several films, including the classic Spice World, but eventually he retired from movies, instead focusing on his work as a UNICEF ambassador.
Sir Roger died in Switzerland surrounded by his family after a short but brave battle with cancer. There will be a private funeral in Monaco in accordance with his wishes.