I found out that Sir Roger Moore had passed away while I was at work. A colleague said to me: ‘They won’t need to canonise him, he was already a Saint.’ I had a lump in my throat, but I felt it was just the sort of one-liner Sir Roger would appreciate.
To me, as a kid, there was just no other James Bond but Roger Moore. He had humour in his voice and kindness in his manner. He made everything seem effortless and brought joie de vivre to the series. Critics might argue that is the polar opposite of what a spy should be. Everyone has their own opinion about Bond and, for me, the Bond films are neither fantasy nor gritty espionage thrillers but romantic adventures. Moore made the role his own in this regard.
He was underrated as an actor and that partly stems from a lifetime of self-deprecation. If you don’t take yourself seriously, the critics won’t either. But if you look past the constant dismissals of his own talent, you could find a very skilled, engaging actor. He was a gentleman, but also a man’s man, equally at ease onscreen in the hotel lobbies of Monaco as he was in the gold mines of South Africa. It was his roles in films such as The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970), Shout at the Devil (1976), The Wild Geese (1978) and The Sea Wolves (1980) that played a part in keeping the British film industry afloat during the 1970s, or as he might have put it, ‘keeping the British end up Sir’.
I felt privileged to have seen him on stage a couple of years ago. Thank you for that Sir Roger, and for a childhood brought up on the greatest film series in history.