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12. June 2017 09:48
by m
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Entertainment Weekly's tribute to Roger Moore

12. June 2017 09:48 by m | 0 Comments

Nice tribute here from Entertainment Weekly's Chris Nashawaty:

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Roger Moore Pages EW June 2 2017_Page_1   Roger Moore Pages EW June 2 2017_Page_2   Roger Moore Pages EW June 2 2017_Page_3  

In Memoriam 1927-2017 ROGER MOORE

He wasn’t the original James Bond, but no one had more fun playing 007 than Roger Moore, who died at 89.

BY CHRIS NASHAWATY

If you were lucky enough to spend time in Sir Roger Moore’s presence, three things quickly became apparent. First, the line separating the man, who died of cancer May 23 at the age of 89, and his world-famous alter ego, James Bond, was so thin and blurred, it didn’t seem to exist at all. In person, he really was that debonair and droll. When he told a joke (which was often), he had a habit of selling the punchline with a raised eyebrow—perhaps the deadliest weapon in his arsenal, even more lethal than 007’s Walther PPK. Second, he didn’t take himself very seriously. He seemed to understand his limitations as an actor and how fortunate he was to fall into a role that fit him like a leather driving glove. He knew his life was charmed. Third, and there’s no overstating this one, he was the sort of star who effortlessly pulled people, both men and women, into his gravitational orbit.

I was lucky enough to spend some time in that orbit in 2008, over lunch at the St. Regis hotel in New York, while Moore was promoting the publication of his self-deprecating memoir My Word Is My Bond. My assignment, to write a profile of him, was the realization of a dream that began at 8 years old when I saw my first 007 film in the theater, 1977’s The Spy Who Loved MeThe Spy Who Loved Me. It was the best movie that Moore ever appeared in—a conviction he shared, by the way. For me, a child of the ’70s, Moore was the first James Bond I knew and therefore my favorite. Many argue that his predecessor, Sean Connery, played the role better—with more grit and blunt-instrument danger. But Moore brought something fresh and unexpected to the part: fun. No one was deadlier with a double entendre.

Connery may have originated the role, but Moore reinterpreted it with his light touch. Over the span of 12 years, he played 007 in seven films, more than any other actor. From 1973’s Live And Let DieLive And Let Die to 1985’s A View To A KillA View To A Kill, he triumphed over Caribbean voodoo, outskied Aryans on Alpine motorcycles, and outwitted baddies with golden guns and superfluous nipples. He drove a Lotus sports car underwater, defused a nuclear warhead (while wearing a clown suit!), and he always got the girl. Always.

Moore was born in South London, the only child of a police officer and a homemaker. It was a short bus ride away from MI6 headquarters, but the world described in the pages of Ian Fleming’s novels might as well have been in another galaxy.

Moore’s posh diction and demeanor had always been an act—a pose that hardened into a persona over the years. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and serving as a second lieutenant during the final year of World War II, he knocked around the British stage before lighting out for Hollywood in 1953.

He landed a contract at MGM and racked up a string of smallscreen appearances—including replacing James Garner on the fourth season of Maverick— before being cast as the suave Simon Templar in the hit television series The Saint (1962–69).

Moore was Bond producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli’s first choice to play 007 in 1962’s franchise kickoff, Dr. NoDr. No, but the actor’s Saint contract stood in his way. When Connery left the role in the early ’70s, Broccoli made the offer again. Just like that, the working-class kid from South London became the embodiment of globetrotting luxury and licenseto- kill fantasy.

There were other roles for Moore post-Bond. In fact, a couple of very good ones. But none fit him with the same bespoke tailoring as 007’s dinner jacket. Plus, he was content in his later years to volunteer as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and spend his summers in Monaco and winters in Switzerland with his fourth wife, Kristina.

For some actors, being so indelibly linked to one character can feel like a prison, albeit a gilded one. Not Moore. He always considered himself incredibly lucky to have found Bond when he did. To ask for anything more, he said, would have seemed ungrateful and unbecoming.

In the course of our threehour lunch (during which, it should be noted, Moore gracefully tackled an oversize and overpriced hamburger with a knife and fork), our conversation was regularly interrupted by fans. Even in such a ritzy and refined venue, every eye in the restaurant seemed to be trained on him. Every ear seemed to be cocked in his direction, eager to soak in that elegant British purr.

"WHEN HE TOLD A JOKE (WHICH WAS OFTEN), HE HAD A HABIT OF SELLING THE PUNCHLINE WITH A RAISED EYEBROW—PERHAPS THE DEADLIEST WEAPON IN HIS ARSENAL."

A well-dressed businessman sheepishly approached to ask if Moore would say something— anything—to him just so he could share the story. The famous tenor Plácido Domingo stopped by to say hello. (They’d first met on the tennis courts of Acapulco.) The obsequious waiter, hoping to hear the world’s greatest spy order his signature “vodka martini—shaken, not stirred,” couldn’t hide his disappointment when Moore ordered a Bloody Mary, but he walked away beaming nonetheless. Moore handled it all with grace, humor, and humility. It was a master class in stardom.

Photos: Roger Moore: EVERETT COLLECTION, (From top) For Your Eyes OnlyFor Your Eyes Only; Roger Moore with Jane Seymour in Live And Let DieLive And Let Die, The Spy Who Loved MeThe Spy Who Loved Me: EVERETT COLLECTION; OctopussyOctopussy: PHOTOFEST; MOORE AND CONNERY: RON GALELLA/WIREIMAGE

MOORE THAN BOND

Beyond 007, the actor built an impressive résumé.

BY CHRIS NASHAWATY

THE SAINT (1962–69)

Moore’s first taste of real fame came on TV, playing a suave thief who steals from the rich to give to himself— a double-0 dress rehearsal of sorts.

THE MAN WHO HAUNTED HIMSELF (1970)

After a near-death incident, Harold Pelham (Moore) wakes up with a doppelgänger. Or is he just going mad? Moore’s trickiest and most difficult role.

THE PERSUADERS! (1971–72)

Moore returned to TV to play a British blue blood who solves unsolvable crimes with his street-smart New York partner (Tony Curtis).

THE WILD GEESE (1978)

A band of hard-charging mercenaries (including Richard Burton and Richard Harris) turn this postcolonial African adventure into a rollicking testosterone workout.

SPICE WORLD (1997)

Moore sends up his celluloid legacy as the eccentric Blofeldesque head of the Spice Girls’ record label. A winking coda to his career.

[Source: Entertainment Weekly, June 2 2017, P.80-82. © Time Inc., 2017. All rights reserved.]

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