Roger George Moore was born in Stockwell, south London on October 14, 1927, the son of a policeman. At 15, he entered art school with the intention of becoming a painter, and later became an apprentice at an animation studio. He delved into acting as an extra in crowd scenes in the mid 1940's. He studied at the Royal Academy of Drama (RADA) and appeared in some plays in the West End, before being inducted into the British Army. There he served in the rank of 2nd Lieutenant with a Combined Services Entertainment Unit in Germany at the end of World War II. After release from the military, he worked in theatre, radio and television, but also worked as a model and salesman to make ends meet.
Moore came to the U.S. in 1953, where he got a film contract with MGM, playing supporting roles in several films. His first big TV series was Ivanhoe, followed by Maverick. But it was his role as suave and debonair Simon Templar in the TV series The Saint that catapulted him to stardom. His contract with that show prevented him from being chosen for to play James Bond in 1962. But the Bond role returned to Moore in 1972, when Sean Connery again said for a second time that he was finished as Bond, and Moore was hired as his successor for Live and Let Die.
It has been said that Moore is closer to Ian Fleming's original concept of Bond, as a disenfranchised member of the British Establishment, than Connery's more rough-and-tumble Bond. Indeed, the tone of the series changed under Moore's aegis, with the scripts being tailored to his personality and acting ability. Moore made 7 Bond films [more than Connery's 6], retiring as 007 after A View to a Kill in 1985. He was succeeded by Timothy Dalton the following year.
Moore has acted sporadically since that time, and appears most frequently in European gossip magazines and at charitable events. In 1996 he appeared in a television commercial spoofing James Bond for the conglomerate Hansen's, which was pulled off the air due to litigation with the Bond copyright holders. He succeeded the late Audrey Hepburn in the role of Special Representative for the Film Arts for UNICEF, raising funds for children in underdeveloped countries. Roger was the first James Bond to be honored by the British government, receiving a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) award in March 1999. He was awarded a knighthood in June 2003 for his work with UNICEF.
He has been married 4 times: to Doorn Van Steyn, Dorothy Squires, Luisa Mattioli and Kristina Tholstrup (2002), and He has 3 children, Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian, and 2 granddaughters.
Roger Moore wrote his memoirs, My Word Is My Bond, which were published in 2008.
Visit Sir Roger Moore's official website.
Photo above: Roger and singer Tom Jones were honored by Queen Elizabeth II, March 1999.
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