Roger Moore, the actor with the longest run as British superspy James Bond, has died at age 89.
The news of Moore’s death was confirmed by his children — Deborah, Geoffrey, and Christian — in a statement posted on Twitter. The actor’s death was attributed to cancer, and his family indicated that he died Tuesday, May 23, in Switzerland.
With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated. pic.twitter.com/6dhiA6dnVg
— Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) May 23, 2017
Born in South London in 1927, Moore was the oldest actor to take on the role of Ian Fleming’s famous secret agent. Already well-known to American television audiences due to his featured roles in the medieval adventure series Ivanhoe, the Western series Maverick (in which he replaced James Garner during the show’s fourth season), and the popular British series The Saint (which became a hit in syndication in the United States), Moore began his run as James Bond in 1973’s Live and Let Die at the age of 46.
Moore was only the third James Bond actor at that point, following original 007 actor Sean Connery and actor George Lazenby, who appeared in just one installment of the franchise (1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), only to have Connery return to the role for 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever. After Connery declined to return for another sequel, the producers turned to Moore, and the British actor began what was to become the longest run for any actor in the franchise, and a portrayal of the character that is often held up as one of the best versions of James Bond brought to the screen.
Following Live and Let Die, Moore went on to play Bond for 12 years and six more installments of the franchise, including 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun, 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, 1979’s Moonraker, 1981’s For Your Eyes Only, 1983’s Octopussy, and 1985’s A View to a Kill. His wry British humor and dapper look became his signature additions to the character of 007, and his tenure also featured the introduction of various spy gadgets and tools that would go on to become part of the character’s arsenal in later years. He played the role until his retirement from the franchise in 1985.
Although he appeared in a variety of television and movie projects over the years before, during, and after his time as James Bond, it was his humanitarian work that is often lauded alongside his contributions to the legacy of James Bond.
Moore became a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF in 1991, and spent years championing the causes of the children’s humanitarian organization around the world. In 1999, Moore was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and was officially knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003 for his charity work.
His career also earned him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2008. His final on-screen appearance is in the 2016 drama The Carer, in which he plays a supporting role in a film about an aging British actor (played by Brian Cox) coping with his twilight years.
Moore married four times, and is survived by his three children, his wife, Christina Tholstrup — whom he married in 2002 — and several grandchildren. A private funeral will be held in Monaco in accordance with Moore’s wishes.
- Oh, it’s that guy! You know these actors’ faces, we’ll tell you their names
- Everything we know about Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ movie so far
- Reality hews too close to sci-fi dystopia for ‘Westworld’ star Jeffrey Wright
- This Netflix film was shot with nothing but GoPro cameras
- Seth Rogen leads an all-star lineup for Netflix special ‘Hilarity for Charity’