London: British actor Roger Moore, who was popular as secret agent James Bond died on Tuesday at the age of 89, his family confirmed on the actor’s official Twitter account. He had died in Switzerland of cancer.
The actor’s 12 years as James Bond, the British agent with a voracious appetite for danger and sex, made Moore a millionaire as well as a heartthrob the world over.
He was never one to boast about his acting ability but then the facts spoke for themselves – he played James Bond in more films than any other man.
Moore was also one of the last of the old-style movie stars, who counted Frank Sinatra and David Niven among his friends and lived in luxury in Switzerland and the French Riviera.
More went on to become a real-life hero as an ambassador for Unicef, even as he downplayed his own talents.
“I’m not that cold-blooded killer type. Which is why I play it mostly for laughs,” he once said.
Born Roger George Moore, on October 14, 1927 in the London suburb of Stockwell, he was the only son of a police constable and his wife, and had a happy childhood.
“I’ve not done badly for a boy from Stockwell, where I used to gaze at the silver screen in wonderment, little realising I’d be a part of this magical world,” he wrote in his autobiography, “My Word Is My Bond.”
He began his acting career as an extra in the 1940s before studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He landed an MGM studio contract but only had supporting roles during the 1950s.
He also played alongside Tony Curtis in the 1970s crime series “The Persuaders”.
Moore said in his autobiography he had been approached about playing James Bond, novelist Ian Fleming’s fictional secret agent, as early as 1967.
But it was not until 1973 that he finally won the role – despite, at 45, being two and a half years older than Connery, the man he replaced.
Moore made his debut in Live and Let Die, after the producers made him lose weight, get fit and cut his hair.
He followed it with The Man With the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981) and Octopussy (1983) before bowing out after A View to a Kill in 1985, when he was 57.
“Sadly, I had to retire from the Bond films,” Moore said at a ceremony to award him a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, just ahead of his 80th birthday. “The girls were getting younger and I was just getting too old.”
His children were all with Italian actress Luisa Mattioli, whom he married in 1969 divorced in 1996. He married Kristina Tholstrup, a Swede, in 2002.