Sir Roger Moore (1927-) b. Stockwell, London, England.
Sir Roger George Moore KBE was born on 14th October 1927 in Stockwell, London, the only child of metropolitan policeman George Moore and Lillian (nee Pope) and as a result of contracting double pneumonia, nearly died when aged five years.
He attended Battersea Grammar School, but at the outbreak of WWII it was decided to evacuate him to the country and he lived for the duration in Holesworthy, Devon, during which time he attended Dr Challoner�s Grammar, followed by the College of the Venerable Bede at the University of Durham. Immediately after the end of the war, he turned 18 and was called-up for his National Service, joining the Royal Army Service Corps, where he was commissioned as an officer, eventually attaining the rank of Captain.
Before the war, Moore had been at RADA for a brief spell, courtesy of director Brian Desmond Hurst, with whom he had his first taste of acting, being used as an extra in the film Trottie True. This small experience persuaded him whilst still serving his National Service, to transfer to the entertainment branch of the RASC (where he served under Spike Milligan) and immediately after the war he had an uncredited part in Caesar and Cleopatra (1945), meeting his idol Stewart Granger, whom he later worked with in Wild Geese.
It was as a male model, however, that he made his mark in the early 1950s, when he appeared in ads for knitwear (after which he was nicknamed The Big Knit), together with a plethora of other products such as toothpaste. His earliest known television appearance was on 27 May 1950, in Drawing Room Detective, presented by BBC announcer Leslie Mitchell. Viewers at home had to spot clues to a crime during a short play. He has not worked for BBC television since.
Throughout the 50s, he had a contract with MGM, although the films he made were not successful and by his own admission, he was �not very good�! So it was with television that he continued to make his name. He landed the lead role in Ivanhoe, also appeared in the series The Alaskans, and played Beau Maverick, in Maverick.
It was in the early 60s however that he finally became a household name, when Lew Grade gave him his big break, casting him as debonair trouble-shooter Simon Templar in The Saint. The series ran from 1961 for six seasons and 118 episodes, making it, with The Avengers, the longest-running series of its kind on UK television. Moore would also direct several episodes of the later series, which were filmed in colour in 1967.
After the series ended, he made two films, the first of which was Crossplot, a fun ‘spy caper’ film, followed by The Man Who Haunted Himself in 1971, a Bryan Forbes screenplay directed by Basil Dearden. Unfortunately, neither performed well commercially or met with great critical success, however more recently, it has become widely accepted that The Man Who Haunted Himself is now considered a very under-rated film and features one of Moore’s finest performances.
Another cult TV series was to convince him to return to the small screen in the early 70s. Starring with Tony Curtis, they made The Persuaders! This earned him �1m per series, making him the highest paid TV actor in the world. It was during the making of this series that he gave up smoking cigarettes, following a verbal dressing-down about his habit from his co-star. He switched to smoking Montecristo cigars, a habit he finally kicked in 1992 after undergoing major surgery for prostate cancer.
Then, in 1973, Moore was cast as James Bond for the film Live and Let Die and his future as a movie star was assured. He is the oldest actor to play Bond, in fact he was 45 when he filmed his first one and during his twelve years as 007 he made seven of the action films and eventually won-over many of the fans, despite the predictable comparisons with Sean Connery. He was 58 and generally accepted to be too old by the time he did his last one, having originally tried to leave after For Your Eyes Only four years earlier. The Living Daylights was originally written with him as Bond and, following his retirement from the role, the script had to be re-written to suit Timothy Dalton as the new 007. Roger himself has said The Spy Who Loved Me was his favourite Bond movie and A View to a Kill his least favourite. Interestingly, many of the scenes involving Roger using a gun throughout his entire seven film run had to be re-shot as he frequently messed them up, due to suffering from hoplophobia, a pathological fear of firearms.
Although the Bond series were huge in his life, they were by no means the only films he made during that time. In fact, he made a total of thirteen others, including Gold (1974) That Lucky Touch (1975), Shout at the Devil (1976), The Wild Geese (1978), Escape to Athena (1979), and North Sea Hijack (1979). He had also wanted to appear in A Bridge Too Far (1977) but had to withdraw when the filming of The Spy Who Loved Me was delayed. Whilst filming Octopussy in India In 1983, he was so shocked at the poverty he saw, he became involved in the Third World humanitarian effort. His good friend Audrey Hepburn had impressed him with her work for UNICEF, and as a result, he finally succeeded her as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1991. He has dedicated himself to this work ever since and in 1999 he was awarded the CBE, followed in 2003 with the KBE for his services to the children’s charity. In May 2000 he also received an International Humanitarian Award from the London Variety Club for his charity work.
On 11th October 2007, three days before his 80th birthday, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work on television and in film.
In an interview in The Sunday Telegraph magazine in April 2009, he finally confirmed that he has completely retired from acting (although he did appear in a TV advert for The Post Office) and now devotes all of his time to promoting the UNICEF cause.
Roger Moore has been married four times, Doorn van Steyn (1946�53), Dorothy Squires (1953�68),
Luisa Mattioli (1969�96) and Kristina Tholstrup (2002�present). He has a daughter and two sons from his marriage to Luisa Mattioli.
Compiled by Clive Saunders.