May 23, 2017

Roger Moore (1927-2017)

Sir Roger Moore has died at the age of 89.

Moore is best known for playing James Bond in seven films (more than anyone else) from 1973 to 1985. He is the oldest actor to have played the character, and of the six actors to have portrayed Bond, the first to pass away.

Compared to the more serious portrayal by his predecessor Sean Connery--and certainly in contrast with Ian Fleming's brooding, nihilistic secret agent--Moore's James Bond was suave and lighthearted, almost cartoonish. It wasn't the best period for Bond movies. But when Moore played Bond straight, as he did in Live and Let Die or For Your Eyes Only, he was very good indeed, and we can forgive him for Moonraker and Octopussy. Besides, if not for seeing Moonraker on TV as an eighth grader, I would never have sought out the novel, and James Bond may never have become one of my favourite literary characters. I recently finished reading straight through Fleming's Bond books for the third time.

Moore was also well known for his six-season run on television as the Saint, based on another literary favourite of mine, Leslie Charteris' Master criminal.

Goodbye, Mr. Bond.