Roger Moore is a prominent English actor, who became extremely popular after donning the role of
James Bond from the year 1973 until 1985. Roger was born on October 14, 1927, as Roger George Moore in Stockwell, London. He is the only child of George Alfred Moore, who works as a policeman, and Lillian Pope from Calcutta, India. Initially, he studied at Battersea Grammar School, but because of the World War 2, he was moved to Holsworthy, Devon in London. Later on, he studied at Launceston College in Cornwall and pursued his studies at Dr. Challoner’s Grammar School in Buckinghamshire. He was an apprentice in an animation studio but got fired due to some mistake. During those times, his father is doing an investigation in Director Brian Desmond Hurst’s house about a robbery case.
He was introduced to the director and eventually, he landed his first acting job as an extra in the 1945 British Technicolor film, Caesar and Cleopatra. From there, a fan got attracted to him and so, Hurst decided to enroll him at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he spent three terms. He also polished his Mid-Atlantic accent while at RADA and a calm manner that later became his persona while on screen. He was conscripted for national service at the age of 18, soon after the World War 2. On September 21, 1946, he became a 2nd lieutenant at the Royal Academy Service Corps. He was also an officer at the Combined Services Entertainment Section and later became a captain, and commanded a depot at West Germany. During the early 50’s, Moore initially worked as a model and made appearances in knitwear’s print advertisements, where he earned the alias “The Big Knit.” He stated in his book, the
Last Man Standing: Tales from Tinseltown that his first TV appearance was in Patrick Hamilton’s The Governess on March 27, 1949.
He signed a 7-year contract with MGM, but his following films did not succeed. He appeared in the 1955 biographical musical film, Interrupted Melody (1955), which is based on the life of Marjorie Lawrence, an opera singer who recovered from polio. In the same year, he played as Jack in the swashbuckling adventure film, The King’s Thief. He bagged the role of Prince Henri In the 1956 historical drama film, Diane. However, the film failed critically and commercially, so he was released from his contract with MGM. After that, he started doing one-shot parts in TV series including an episode, The Avon Emeralds, from Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ anthology series. And then, he signed with Warner Bros. In the year 1959, he starred in Irving Rapper’s The Miracle, opposite Carroll Baker in the lead roles. Also in 1959, he appeared in The Angry Young Man, an episode in Arthur Hiller’s The Third Man TV series. From 1958 – 1959, Moore was featured in the British TV series, Ivanhoe, as Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe.
While doing some stunts in the series, he had an accident and suffered broken ribs. Subsequently, he starred on ABC/ Warner Bros. western TV series, The Alaskans, alongside Jeff York, Dorothy Provine, and Ray Danton. The show ran for only one season as Moore finds his work highly taxing. Also, his off-cam relationship with Provine makes things more complicated. He later appeared as 14 Karat John in the episode, Right Off the Boat on ABC/ Warner Bros. crime drama series, The Roaring 20’s. In 1957, he essayed the role of Beau Maverick in Roy Huggins’ very successful western TV series, Maverick. He became a household name in the mystery spy thriller series, The Saint, which he also produced and directed.
The series earned him a niche in international television and has also established his smooth, quipping style, which he sustained until James Bond. After the series ended, he starred in two films; Crossplot (1969) and the British psychological thriller film, The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970). Moore returned to television in the 1971 action adventure comedy series, The Persuaders! He was paid £1 million for doing a single series, which makes him the highest paid TV actor in the world. Due to many commitments, Moore was unable to portray the role of James Bond for a considerable time. He made a guest appearance as James Bond in Mainly Millicent comedy series. He waited until
Sean Connery stepped down to playing the role of James Bond for good. He was offered the role in 1972 and finally cast as James Bond in Guy Hamilton’s Live and Let Die in 1973. He reprised his role as James Bond in Guy Hamilton’s The Man with the Golden Gun (1974); Lewis Gilbert’s The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979); John Glen’s For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983), and A View to a Kill (1985).
He spent twelve years essaying the role of James Bond and was the oldest actor to have played the role. In the year 1987, he hosted the show,
Happy Anniversary 007: 25 Years of James Bond. While doing the James Bond series, Moore has starred in 13 more films including Gold (1974), Shout at the Devil (1976), The Wild Geese (1978), North Sea Hijack (1979), The Cannonball Run (1981), and Curse of the Pink Panther (1983). He also donned two World War 2 films during this time; Escape to Athena (1979) and The Sea Wolves (1980). After James Bond, he took a hiatus from acting and returned to the big screen in 1990. He was also seen in the TV series, My Riviera and has starred in the 1992 romantic comedy film, Bed & Breakfast. Moore also played a vital role in Jean-Claude Van Damme’s directorial debut film, The Quest, in 1996.
He played as Lloyd Faversham, a flamboyant gay, in the romantic comedy film, Boat Trip, along with
Cuba Gooding Jr. In 2009, he did an advertisement for Post Office and took part on BBC1’s Victoria Wood Christmas Special. Moore also lends his voice as a talking cat (Lazenby) in Brad Peyton’s Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. He co-starred with Sam Heughan and Katie McGrath in the 2011 film, A Princess for Christmas. At the age of 18, Moore got married to Doorn Van Steyn, his fellow student in RADA. However, due to some money and personal matters, they had a divorce in 1953. In 1952, he met Dorothy Squires, a Welsh singer, and got married in
New York, but they had age differences aside from his growing infatuation with Dorothy Provine. He got married to his third wife, Luisa Mattioli in 1969 and had divorced in 1996.
They had three children namely Deborah (actress), Geoffrey (an actor), and Christian (film producer). Moore got married to his last wife, Kristina Tholstrup, in the year 2002. In 1993, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and described it as life-changing, since it helps him in reassessing his life and marriage. He underwent a treatment and became successful, but was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes in the year 2013. Moore died on May 23, 2017, in Switzerland due to brief battle with cancer.