Moore with Bach

Sir Roger Moore gave numerous interviews over the years, and many of his comments were delivered with his tongue firmly in his cheek. But there were also times when some of his real thoughts about his life and film career also emerged.

Of his James Bond movies, it became very clear on a number of occasions that The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) remained his favourite 007 adventure.

In tribute to Sir Roger, here are just a few of his reflections on his TV shows and films, on his life in general, and, of course, on Bond, James Bond – the role that made him a global star. We also include some of his comments on the current 007, Daniel Craig.

Over to you, Sir Roger. You will be sorely missed…

His TV Career:

The Saint completely dominated my life for seven years. It sold to 80 countries and is still being shown…” (1989)

“I loved my mother and father… I was still doing The Saint when my mother said to me, ‘Have you ever thought about getting a regular job, son?’ When I became Bond, I think they were very proud” (2012)

“I had sufficient celebrity status worldwide from the amount of television I did, with The Saint and The Persuaders and Ivanhoe, so I’d been in people’s living rooms for many years. It’s that notoriety that helps Unicef with spokespeople…” (2012)

On Becoming James Bond:

“I was at Pinewood filming The Persuaders when Sean was filming Diamonds there, and consequently I got to see a lot of Harry and Cubby around the studio. When Sean left the franchise, I knew the role was up for grabs again and I declined Lew Grade’s offer to make a second series of The Persuaders. Just as well I did, as my phone rang. It was Harry…” (2008)

“I feel as nervous as one does about going into anything new. The sort of thought which crosses my mind all the time is that there is going to be the inevitable comparison. But then an actor does not accept a part if he does not think he can play it. I won’t play Bond like Sean because physically I don’t even look like Sean and I am a different style of actor. It will be Roger Moore playing Bond and, if they hate me, well… I have been hated before” (1973)

“I will obviously avoid things that Sean did, purely because I do not want to given an impersonation of Sean” (1973)

“When I was asked to play Bond for the first time I was thrilled. For three minutes. They said to me: ‘Your hair is too long and you’ll have to lose weight’. I was 007 and that’s how they were talking to me” (1982)

“There was certainly no rivalry between Sean and I when I eventually took over, nor did he give me any advice. I just set out to play the part in my own way” (1985)

On Being Bond:

“Bond is basically a very square gentleman who, underneath I think, is having a great deal of fun” (1973)

“Bond is pure entertainment, way out, extravagant and expensive. The audience know in advance that they are going to be entertained” (1974)

“I try to take a sardonic approach to my portrayal of Bond, as though I’m sharing an adventutous joke with the audience. The art of acting is not to be caught acting” (1982)

“It’s tiring only in that it’s hard work. But hard work for me is fun, otherwise I certainly wouldn’t do it. The most tiring thing about the Bond films is that you travel so much, and I’m not really too keen on all that. It’s exhausting. My first Bond film, Live and Let Die, was absolutely exhausting for me, because a Bond movie is a circus when you’re making it. For instance, I remember vividly that on Moonraker we had exactly three hundred and eighty two journalists visit the set, each one of them expecting an interview. You see, it’s an exhausting publicity machine and you have to smile a lot and by night time your face aches!” (1983)

“Any actor who says they wouldn’t want to play Bond is lying. It is the role of a lifetime, and as well as financial security, it brought me the ability to choose other terrific roles in between outings” (2004)

“I loved working with terrific directors such as Lewis Gilbert and Guy Hamilton. It was a joy to go to work. You don’t get that feeling in many jobs. I’m very lucky” (2010)

“It is unusual to see a picture of the producer Cubby Broccoli and me on set without a backgammon board in front of us. We used to play during all the breaks from shooting and the directors always had a terrible job getting me back on to the set when we were in the middle of a game; if Cubby was winning he absolutely would not let me go” (2011)

“I loved The Spy Who Loved Me. It remains the one I most enjoyed making” (2012)

“Oh, let me see. The Spy Who Loved Me was the one. That film in particular. I thought it was the better of the Bond films I made. Lewis Gilbert was a wonderful director and great friend and we laughed from morning until night” (2016)

“They were great years and great films to be doing. I had the most wonderful time. On each film, it was mainly the same people working – and I’m not talking about the cast, I’m talking about the crew members. So each time we started a new film it was like going back to visit family. It was a family. The producer for most of my films was a wonderful character, Cubby Broccoli, and he was a very dear friend. I miss him enormously. It was a lot of fun and a lot of laughs and sometimes we were probably a little naughty” (2016)

On Life After Bond:

“At least, I don’t have to bend down and kiss all those girls any more!” (1987)

“I’ve been very lucky, and I’d be ungrateful not to admit it. Now I’m enjoying myself. I’m in the process of getting some film projects together, but I’m in no rush. I’d like to play a few villains” (1987)

“I would love to play a Bond villain. They get all the best lines” (1997)

“When I was playing Bond it was the best job in the world. I mean it was hard work, all that filming and travelling and tedium on set, but I earned a lot of money and it was not a taxing job. I just had to say, ‘Shaken, not stirred’. I had a great time and some great friends because I was living in the UK at the time… Anyway, once it was impossible to find any Bond villains older than myself, I retired. I then met Audrey Hepburn who got me involved with Unicef and I realised I wanted to do something with my celebrity and privilege” (2003)

“I miss the film sets, and the camaraderie of my friends there. There’s something quite magical about driving in to a studio at 7am, and an hour later emerging from make-up looking better than when you walked in” (2010)

“When I was doing Bond, I was always being sent scripts to play the derring-do hero, with explosions going on all around. It’s different now, though: they just look at me and say, ‘Poor old thing – can’t get out of a chair’…” (2011)

On Daniel Craig as Bond:

“I think Daniel Craig is a wonderful actor. When I read that he was going to do it right at the beginning, I thought, ‘This is going to be interesting’. I had just seen him in Munich and a couple of films before that, and I thought Casino Royale was absolutely superb. He’s a beautiful actor and a nice guy, and his gymnastics are quite extraordinary. I would have been dead after the first movie!” (2011)

“I played Bond as a lover. Daniel does it as a killer. He has the best physique of any of us 007s, and he’s the best actor, too. I used to think that Sean Connery was the most obvious choice, but Daniel is better than any of us, and I hope he will reign for many more Bond adventures” (2012)

“Daniel Craig brings to Bond the killer instinct. He’s quite sensational in the movie. It (Skyfall) not only guarantees another 50 years of Bond, but probably 100. It’s quite extraordinary” (2012)

“He (Daniel) looks like a fellow who’s going to kill people. I like the whole approach. In fact, I think Skyfall is possibly the best Bond ever made” (2013)

On His General Acting Career:

“Acting is really portraying the things you’ve remembered from experience. Everything you do in life is another experience. I never had the struggling actor days of washing dishes or digging roads. I did my apprenticeship tramping round agencies and producers’ offices, writing to repertory companies and then starting off in rep doing terrible tours and bits and pieces on television and radio. I’m grateful for that. But I’m also grateful that I never had any sort of wonderful break at any time to test me, prove me. I might have gone down the pan and got out of the business. I was just lucky that, eventually, things snowballed and I managed to keep on working” (1987)

“Acting’s not a bad way to earn a living, especially if you don’t get caught” (1989)

“After seven years and 118 episodes of The Saint, I was looking for a new challenge. It was 1970. EMI had recently appointed Bryan Forbes as their head of production… So I was intrigued when he called to ask if I’d heard of a book called The Case of Mr. Pelham. He’d just given the green light to a script based on it… The Man Who Haunted Himself. It was one of the best scripts I’d ever read, with a very intriguing story… It was a role that called for emotion, drama and great intensity… When asked about the film nowadays, I always reflect that it was one of the few times I was allowed to act… ” (2004)

“I look back with great affection on all my movies and television work. Among them all, many say my best role was in The Man Who Haunted Himself. Being a modest actor, I won’t disagree” (2004)

On His Life:

“When I look back over my life, I don’t think I would want to change anything, whether it’s been bad or indifferent. When you think of it all, you just have to say that that’s what makes life. Certainly, having children of my own was one of the greatest things in my life” (2016)

On His Work For Unicef:

“They said 40,000 children die each year of preventable disease – that’s one every seven seconds. I wanted to put faces and names to those numbers and the only way I could do that and see for myself was to sign on the dotted line and become a Unicef ambassador” (2001)

“We all have a responsibility in life to do what we can to help those less fortunate” (2011)

Sir Roger Moore (1927-2017). R.I.P.

Moore with Barbara Bach in Lotus