Sir Roger George Moore KBE (born 14 October 1927) is an English actor. He is perhaps best known for portraying two British action heroes, Simon Templar in the television series The Saint from 1962 to 1969, and James Bond in seven films from 1973 to 1985. He has been a UNICEF ambassador since 1991. He was also known as the guest star to appear on the final episode of The Muppet Show.
Although Moore won a contract with MGM in the 1950s, the films which followed were not a success and, in his own words, "At MGM, RGM (Roger George Moore) was NBG [no bloody good]." His starring role in The Miracle, a version of the play Das Mirakel for Warner Bros., had been turned down by Dirk Bogarde.
Eventually, it was television in which Moore made his name. He was the eponymous hero in the serial Ivanhoe, a very loose adaptation of the romantic novel by Sir Walter Scott, and he also appeared in the series The Alaskans, as well as playing Beau Maverick, an English cousin of frontier gambler Bret Maverick (James Garner) in Maverick.
The Saint ran for six seasons and 118 episodes, making it (in a tie with The Avengers) the longest-running series of its kind on British television. However, Moore grew increasingly tired of the role, and was keen to branch out. He made two films immediately after the series had ended: Crossplot, a lightweight 'spy caper' movie, and the more challenging The Man Who Haunted Himself (1971). Directed by Basil Dearden, it gave Moore the opportunity to demonstrate a wider versatility than the role of Simon Templar had allowed, although reviews at the time were lukewarm, and both did little business at the box office.
The series failed in America, where it had been pre-sold to ABC but it was successful in Australia and in Europe. In Germany, where the series was aired under the name Die Zwei, it became a hit through a special funny dubbing that only barely used the original translations of the dialogs. And in Britain it was also popular, although on its premiere on the ITV network, it was beaten in the ratings by repeats of Monty Python's Flying Circus on BBC1. When Channel 4 repeated both The Avengers and The Persuaders! in 1995, it was generally agreed that the latter, which had not been seen for many years, had not aged as well as the former. It has not been seen on any of the five main UK terrestrial channels since.
Since then, The Persuaders has enjoyed something of a renaissance both on television and DVD, with the 'rivals' Moore and Curtis reuniting to provide commentaries on the most recent issues. In France, where the series (entitled Amicalement Vôtre) had always been popular, the DVD releases accompanied a monthly magazine of the same name.
Roger Moore's seven years as Simon Templar earned him enough popularity (and credibility) among fans of detective fiction to earn many Bond fans' acceptance, despite the inevitable comparisons to Connery. Moore played Bond in:
To date, Moore is the longest-serving James Bond actor, having spent twelve years in the role (from his debut in 1973, to his retirement from the role in 1985), and made seven official films. (Connery also made seven, but his last Bond film, Never Say Never Again (1983), is not part of the official EON Productions series.) He is also the oldest actor to play Bond: he was 45 when he debuted, and 58 when he announced his retirement on December 3, 1985, as it was agreed by all involved that Moore was too old for the role by that point (he had actually tried to leave the role after For Your Eyes Only). Moore himself was quoted in the contemporary press as saying that he felt embarrassed to be seen making love scenes with beautiful actresses who were young enough to be his daughters.
Moore's James Bond was light-hearted, more so than any other official actor to portray the character. Connery's style, even in its lighter moments, was that of a focused, determined agent. Moore often portrayed 007 as somewhat of a playboy, with tongue firmly in cheek, but also as a very capable and seasoned detective. The humour served Moore and his fans well through most of his Bond tenure.
Although often considered a "lightweight", owing to never having had a significant stage career or having appeared in serious dramas, Moore is the only James Bond actor other than Timothy Dalton who can boast a dramatic education at RADA, the prestigious London drama college. However, Moore only attended for six months in 1945.
His post-Bond acting career has been light. In the words of his friend Michael Caine, with whom he co-starred in the unsuccessful Bullseye! (1990), "Now he can't get a job." At the age of 74, Moore was given the chance to go against type with his portrayal of a flamboyant homosexual in Boat Trip (2002).
In 1983, his life changed when filming in India. Shocked at the poverty in India, he became interested in the Third World humanitarian effort. His friend Audrey Hepburn had impressed him with her work for UNICEF, and consequently he became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1991. He was the voice of 'Santa' in the UNICEF cartoon The Fly Who Loved Me.
Now having reached his 80th birthday (14 October 2007), Moore appears only occasionally in film or television, notably as Lord Edgar Dobbs in The Quest (1996) and an episode of the American TV series Alias in 2002. In a commercial for London's 2012 Olympic bid, Moore once again suited up as James Bond. He appeared alongside Samantha Bond, who played Miss Moneypenny in the Bond films during the Pierce Brosnan era. He still appears regularly on chat shows, chiefly to promote the work of UNICEF.
On October 11, 2007, (3 days before he turned 80), Moore was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work on television and in film. Attending the ceremony were family, friends, and Richard Kiel, whom he had acted with in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. Moore's Star was the 2,350th star installed, and is appropriately located at 7007 Hollywood Boulevard.
Moore was involved in the production of an informative video for PETA that protests against the production and wholesale of foie gras. Moore narrates the video, which shows how ducks and geese are force-fed in order to appease the demand for the delicacy.
In 1999, Moore was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) on June 14, 2003. The citation on the knighthood was for Moore's charity work, which has dominated his public life for more than a decade. In perhaps his final riposte to the critics, Moore said that the citation "meant far more to me than if I had got it for acting... I was proud because I received it on behalf of UNICEF as a whole and for all it has achieved over the years".
Moore's autobiography My Word is My Bond (ISBN 0061673889) will be published by Collins in the US in November 2008. It will be published in the UK by Michael O'Mara Books Ltd on October 2nd 2008 (ISBN 9781843173182) .
He has been somewhat unpopular with critics, who have often derided his acting as limited and wooden. In the New York Times of 29 December 1974, Vincent Canby sarcastically wrote that he hereby awarded Moore "the Kabuki Acting Award… in recognition of the manner in which he has reduced all human emotions to a series of variations on one gesture, the raising of the right eyebrow." And in The Good Film And Video Guide (published 1986), David Shipman wrote of A View to a Kill that Moore as James Bond was "not so much like a piece of plastic, as something embalmed but moving." John Brosnan, who with his 1972 book, James Bond In The Cinema, became the first writer to seriously consider the phenomenon of the Bond movies in themselves, as opposed to the books, consistently urged Broccoli to replace Moore, writing in his review of Moonraker in Starburst magazine that he was "plastic...more James Bland than James Bond."
The satirical British TV show Spitting Image once had a sketch in which their latex likeness of Moore, when asked to display emotions by an offscreen director, does nothing but raise an eyebrow. Moore himself has stated that he thought the sketch was funny, and took it in good humour. Indeed, he had always embraced the 'eyebrows' gag wholeheartedly, slyly claiming that he "only had three expressions as Bond: right eyebrow raised, left eyebrow raised and eyebrows crossed when grabbed by Jaws." Spitting Image continued the joke, featuring a Bond movie spoof, The Man with the Wooden Delivery, with Moore's puppet receiving orders from Margaret Thatcher to kill Mikhail Gorbachev, and many other comedy shows of that time ridiculed Moore's acting, Rory Bremner once claiming to have had a death threat from an irate fan of Moore's, following one such routine.
Moore is a lifelong Conservative, and publicly supported the British Conservative Party in the 2001 General Election. However, in December 2007, he joined a protest in Bristol organised by the left-wing Unite trade union against the closure of a nearby Cadbury chocolate factory.
Interview: Richard Serrano discusses his report on Terry Nichols' allegations that a third man, Roger Moore, was involved in the Oklahoma City bombing
May 04, 2005; ROBERT SIEGEL, MELISSA BLOCK All Things Considered (NPR) 05-04-2005 Interview: Richard Serrano discusses his report on Terry...