May 23, 2017
Remembering Roger Moore
a 1964 sketch on the BBC comedy series Mainly Millicent, and in the Saint episode “Luella” (co-starring future Felix Leiter David Hedison), Templar jokingly introduced himself as James Bond. In another episode, he ordered his drink “neither shaken nor stirred.”
Moore and Baker had planned several other films together (including, according to Andrew Pixley, the spy drama The Patterson Report and an action-adventure called Vanishing Point**), but never had the chance to make them. Instead, Moore was lured back to television by Lew Grade, who had already sold The Persuaders! based on Moore’s involvement, but without his permission! He then persuaded Moore to make the series by urging him to think of all the jobs it would create, and the boon it would be to the British economy. (“Think of the Queen!”) And thank God it worked, because The Persuaders! is fantastic. It’s one of my favorite TV series, and it's actually his character from that show, Lord Brett Sinclair, that I think of first when I think of Roger Moore... much as I love his Saint and his Bond.
on YouTube, saving yourself from slogging through the entire film.) In my opinion he’s the only actor to ever successfully fill Sellers’ shoes in that role (once again demonstrating his ability to rise to the challenge following in famous footsteps), and it’s a real shame that Edwards didn’t make Moore’s Clouseau the star of the film.
Moore played James Bond in seven official entries in the series, more than any other actor (though tied with Connery if you count the unofficial Never Say Never Again), and until he was 57, making him the oldest actor to play 007. Too old, really. Moore himself was the first to admit that A View to a Kill was at least one movie too many, and stretched credibility when he switched off with stuntmen for the outlandish action. He had actually tried to leave the series, but Broccoli simply offered him too much money to pass up.
With Roger Moore’s passing, we have lost one of the true titans of the spy genre, and a very talented comedic actor who never got proper credit for those talents. Fortunately, that Roger Moore brand will live on in his incredible body of work, preserved for posterity on DVD and Blu-ray and no doubt all formats to come. There is truth to the criticism that his Bond movies aren’t so much Bond movies as “Roger Moore movies.” But so what? I find myself frequently craving Roger Moore movies, and I don’t expect that will ever change. It may well be that I'm a bit more of a Roger Moore fan than I am a James Bond fan. Roger Moore was truly one of my heroes, and I am genuinely crushed by his passing. But what a legacy he leaves behind!
*Moore, Roger with Gareth Owen: My Word is My Bond, 2008
**Pixley, Andrew: The Persuaders! Read and Destroy: A Complete Series Guide, 2011