Roger Moore’s leading man looks, unflappable charm, knowing sense of humour made him a globally popular screen actor for over fifty years.
But thrust to global fame as the suave secret agent James Bond, he found himself typecast and his acting ability much maligned.
But this seriously under rated his acting talent. Moore’s brilliant ability at light comedy puts him on a part the finest British actors from Cary Grant to Hugh Grant.
Having escaped the treadmill of TV in such shows as Ivanhoe and The Persuaders, he made 1970’s The Man Who Haunted Himself.
It’s a terrific off-kilter British ghost story featuring Moore in a fascinating dual role, and shows he was a character of some depth.
In 1973 Moore became Bond, and he was sadly never again offered the chance to stretch himself as an actor to the same degree.
At 46 years old, Moore was the oldest actor to begin the role of 007. And he took Bond in a different direction from his predecessor Sean Connery.
Moore brought his comic touch to the role, giving the series a warmer and more playful tone after the Cold War of the 1960s.
When Moore made his last Bond, A View To A Kill, at 58 he was far too old to be either a convincing playboy or action man.
During his Bond tenure and afterwards, movie producers were eager only to cash in on Moore’s fame, but offered sub-par material.
His talents were wasted in straight to video action comedies and cameos in terrible films such as The Spice Girls and Boat Trip.
But true to form, Moore retained his dignity and never gave less than his best.
The films benefitted from his Hollywood star appeal far more than he did from them.
It was a sad and far from fitting end to a long career which offered tantalising hints at greatness.
But he never regretted his choices, and was content to have achieved big screen immortality as one of the few actors to be able to claim to be Bond, James Bond.