All time high! Sir Roger Moore, who was the third actor to play 007 in the EON franchise, is still sorely missed. The latest issue of the UK’s newspaper The Weekly News (21st March) contains an interview with the late Sir Roger Moore’s Personal Assistant Gareth Owen, who spent 16 years as PA at the former James Bond’s side.
Gareth recently published Raising An Eyebrow: My Life With Sir Roger Moore, a highly entertaining and emotionally moving book about his memories of working for the third 007, who sadly died of cancer in 2017, aged 89. But Gareth emphasised to the newspaper: ‘I didn’t work for Roger Moore, I worked with him. He never threw his weight around when we were together and we never had a cross word in 16 years. He was an absolute gentleman’.
Gareth told the Weekly News that the one thing the ex-007 hated was rudeness and there were times when Roger would make his feelings known to someone who was less than courteous.
On one occasion, for example, when Roger was due to appear on a chat show for the BBC, he was prevented from entering the car park without showing some ID. Sir Roger told his driver to turn the car round and return to his hotel. Gareth said: ‘He never expected anyone to roll out the red carpet but he simply couldn’t tolerate bad manners’.
When Roger’s long-serving PA, Doris Spriggs, retired in 2001, Gareth – who was already a huge Bond fan and had been since childhood – took the initiative and offered his services as a replacement. Gareth, who already had a good knowledge of the film industry as a writer and producer, ran Roger Moore’s professional life by booking flights and hotels, arranging book-signings, accompanying him on world trips, and dealing with the star’s correspondence and charitable work. He also co-wrote Roger’s books and acted as on-stage interviewer when Roger made personal appearances on a number of speaking tours, where he recalled his life and career. As Sir Roger often commented, ‘Gareth knows me better than I know myself’.
Interestingly, and in a bonus for fans of the Moore Bond era, the same issue of the Weekly News also contains a detailed interview with Swedish actress Britt Ekland who, of course, appeared alongside the 007 star in his second James Bond movie, The Man With The Golden Gun. Britt has also written the foreword to Raising An Eyebrow. Now aged 77, the former Bond girl continues to enjoy a full acting career and has recently been touring the UK in a new stage production of the thriller The Cat And The Canary.
At one stage in the interview, referring to her general career and also recalling her appearance in the Bond movie, Britt commented: ‘I am pleased with what I have done and I am very happy if someone says, “Oh, yes, you were a Bond girl, weren’t you?”. Yes I was and very proud of it. It is a title of honour’.
Raising An Eyebrow: My Life With Sir Roger Moore by Gareth Owen (History Press, 2020), 224 pages, with a foreword by Britt Ekland, is available in book form or Kindle edition. It is a must-buy for any James Bond or general Roger Moore fan.