Roger Moore (1927-2017)

The actor, who at the somewhat late age of 46 gained international stardom as James Bond and played the role until he was 58, has died at the age of 89. Interestingly, when they were first casting the role of Bond, they passed on him in favor of Sean Connery because they thought he was too old for the part. He was then just 35.

You can see clips of some of his James Bond scenes here though you are often watching a stunt double and not Moore. Five years ago I discussed how they filmed the famous crocodile jump scene in Live and Let Die and all the early attempts that failed with the double ending up in the water among real live crocodiles

Moore had an easy-going, self-deprecating charm, very similar to James Garner, and so his later addition to the US TV series Maverick as the British cousin Beau to Garner’s Bret was a good match for that light-hearted western. I first saw Moore when he appeared in the British TV series Ivanhoe that, like many of the shows at the time, had a rousing theme song and featured him as a suave, wise-cracking, do-gooder, pretty much the role he played all his life. Here is the very first episode from 1958.

He then went on to play the suave, wise-cracking, do-gooder Simon Templar in the TV series The Saint. Here’s an early episode of that series.

I don’t know if Moore ever played a villain. It is hard to imagine him doing so. In fact, when he took on the role of Bond, the writers had to eliminate the streak of callousness, ruthless edge, and cruelty that Connery brought to the role. It just would not work with him, so they went for a slightly campy vibe as yet another suave, wise-cracking do-gooder.

Like with Garner, his on-screen charm was so great that you did not care that he seemed to be always playing himself. And one should not underestimate the fact that the type he played is not an easy one to portray, even if it reflects your own persona.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    I didn’t like Moore as Bond.
    I looooved him as Ivanhoe and The Saint.

  2. raym says

    Here’s another vote for Ivanhoe and The Saint. So many decades ago… how did that happen?

  3. brucegee1962 says

    Does anyone remember his appearance in Cannonball Run in 1981, where he basically played himself? I mainly remember the fight scene where he assumes a fighting posture and tells the bad guy “I should warn you — I’m Roger Moore” and immediately gets punched in the face.

  4. Rob Grigjanis says

    Yeah, him in The Saint (I only have the vaguest memories of Ivanhoe), Richard Greene in The Adventures of Robin Hood, William Hartnell in Doctor Who, Diana Rigg in The Avengers. Boyhood TV heaven.

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