When Sean Connery bowed out as James Bond after 1971's Diamonds Are Forever, there was doubt that anyone could ever uphold the glory of the character to the degree of the Scotsman who had first brought him to the big screen. What the viewing public didn't anticipate were the grace, bravado, and impeccable sophistication of one Roger Moore. After an astounding seven decades working on the big screen, Moore has died from cancer at age 89.
Certainly, Moore will always be best known for his work as Agent 007, a character he has played more than any other actor to date, turning out seven Bond films between 1973 and 1985. Under the direction of the likes of Guy Hamilton (Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun), Lewis Gilbert (The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker), and John Glen (For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, and A View to Kill), Moore brought a terrific new edge to the character, injecting the once roguish agent with a new flare of debonair poise.
But of course, there is more to the endlessly accomplished actor than his work with MI6. Fans of Moore will recall glimpsing his wackier side in the cult classic The Cannonball Run, ditto small screen exploits like The Saint, Maverick, and The Persuaders!. On the former series, which lasted from 1962 through 1969, Moore reinvented the literary figure Simon Templar, an adventurous melding of cop and criminal who’d solve mysteries and help the less fortunate. The Western Maverick brought Moore in to replace star James Garner, bringing new pizzazz to yet another established favorite.
Though more recent years kept Moore working largely in small parts and comic cameos, he maintained an attachment to charitable organizations like UNICEF and PETA. Moore is survived by his wife Kristina Tholstrup and his three children--sons Christian and Geoffrey and daughter Deborah. Moore's children revealed the news of their father's passing via a public message, in which they wrote, "Thank you Pops for being you, and for being so special to so many people."
To reiterate, we may always remember Moore first and foremost for his beloved twist on Agent 007, and so we should. As the man himself once said, "Being eternally known as James Bond has no downside."
Featured Image: United Artists