Perhaps he will always be remembered as the man who replaced Sean Connery in the James Bond series, arguably something he never lived down. Roger George Moore was born on October 14, 1927 in Stockwell, London, England, the son of a policeman. He first wanted to be an artist, but got into films full time after becoming an extra in the late 1940s. Moore also served in the British military during the Second World War. He came to America in 1953. Suave, extremely handsome, and an excellent actor, he got a contract with MGM . His initial foray met with mixed success, with movies like Diane de Poitiers(1956) and Mélodie interrompue (1955), as well as La dernière fois que j'ai vu Paris(1954).
Moore went into television in the 1950s in shows like Ivanhoe (1958) and The Alaskans(1959), but probably got the most recognition from Maverick (1957), as cousin Beau. In 1962, he got his big breakthrough, at least internationally, as Le Saint (1962). The show made him a superstar and he became very successful thereafter. Moore ended his run as the Saint, and was one of the premier stars of the world, but he was not catching on in America. In an effort to change this, he agreed to star with Tony Curtis in ITC'sAmicalement vôtre... (1971), but although hugely popular in Europe, it did not catch on in the United States and was cancelled. Just prior to making the series, he starred in the dark La seconde mort d'Harold Pelham (1970), which proved there was far more to Moore than the light-hearted roles he had previously accepted.
Next, he was offered and accepted the role of James Bond, and once audiences got used to the change of style from Connery's portrayal, they also accepted him. Vivre et laisser mourir (1973), his first Bond movie, grossed more outside of America than Les diamants sont éternels (1971)
- Connery's last outing as James Bond. He went on to star in another
six Bond films, before bowing out after Dangereusement vôtre
(1985) in 1985. He was 57 at the time the film was made and was looking a little too old for Bond - it was possibly one film too many. In between times, there had been more success with appearances in films such as That Lucky Touch
(1975), Parole d'homme
(1976), Les oies sauvages
(1978), Bons baisers d'Athènes
(1979) and Les loups de Haute Mer
Despite his fame from the Bond films and many others, the United States never completely took to him until he starred in L'équipée du Cannonball
(1981) alongside Burt Reynolds
, a big hit there. After relinquishing his role as Bond, his work load tended to diminish a little, though he did star in the American box office flop Feuer, Eis & Dynamit
(1990), as well as the comedy Double arnaque
(1990), with Michael Caine
. He did the overlooked comedy Bed & Breakfast
(1991), as well as the television movie The Man Who Wouldn't Die
(1994), and then the major Jean-Claude Van Damme
flop Le grand tournoi
(1996). Moore then took second rate roles such as Spice World
(1997), and the American television series The Dream Team
(1999). Although his film work may have slowed down, he is still very much in the public eye, be it appearing on television chat shows or hosting documentaries.
Roger Moore was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1999 and Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire in the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to the children's charity, Unicef.