LONDON — British actor Roger Moore was never one to boast about his acting ability but then the facts spoke for themselves — he played James Bond in more films than any other man.
Known for his ironically raised eyebrow and deadpan quips, Moore’s take on the suave superspy was more tongue-in-cheek than that of his manly predecessor Sean Connery.
But he outgunned Connery and all the other actors to have played 007 by taking the role he fondly called “Jimmy Bond” in a record number of seven films.
“I’m not that cold-blooded killer type. Which is why I play it mostly for laughs,” he once said.
Moore said in his autobiography he had been approached about playing James Bond, novelist Ian Fleming’s fictional secret agent, as early as 1967.
But it was not until 1973 that he finally won the role — despite, at 45, being two and a half years older than Connery, the man he replaced.
Moore made his debut in “Live and Let Die,” after the producers made him lose weight, get fit and cut his hair.
He followed it with “The Man With the Golden Gun” (1974), “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977), “Moonraker” (1979), “For Your Eyes Only” (1981) and “Octopussy” (1983) before
He bowed out after “A View to a Kill” in 1985, when he was 57.
“Sadly, I had to retire from the Bond films,” Moore said at a ceremony to award him a star on Hollywood’s “Walk of Fame”, just ahead of his 80th birthday. “The girls were getting younger and I was just getting too old.”
Moore said his most enjoyable Bond experience came in “The Spy Who Loved Me”, memorable for a cast of villains that included “Jaws” played by Richard Kiel — who died in 2014 — and gadgets including a Lotus Esprit sports car which doubled as a submarine.
“I think ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ was the best, or rather the one I enjoyed doing the most,” Moore told AFP in an email interview in 2007. “It had great locations. And I was exceedingly happy working with Lewis Gilbert, the director.”
He had less fun with the actress Grace Jones on “A View to a Kill.” “I’ve always said that if you’ve nothing nice to say about someone, then you should say nothing. So I’ll say nothing,” he recalled.
While fans debate which actor proved to be the best incarnation of 007, Moore revealed he had never discussed the subject with the other actors.
Even when Connery emerged from retirement in 1983 to appear in the ‘unofficial’ Bond film “Never Say Never Again” — released in the same year as Moore’s “Octopussy” — the two actors did not discuss the subject.
That was partly due to a mutual friend, Michael Caine, advising them not to be suckered into joining a media-driven “Battle of the Bonds.”
“Sean and I never discussed our experiences… not even with the leading ladies!” Moore said. “Actors don’t really sit around discussing the parts they’ve played — just in case someone says ‘That was crap!'”
But he later admitted he was a big fan of the current Bond, British actor Daniel Craig.
“Daniel Craig is the hardest, then Sean,” he said in an interview.
Here are the seven James Bond films of Roger Moore.
“Live and Let Die” (1873)
“The Man With the Golden Gun” (1974)
“The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977)
“For Your Eyes Only” (1981)
“A View to a Kill” (1985)
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