by Graham Pierrepoint
Among the most iconic figures in British TV and film, you could get fewer classier than Sir Roger Moore – argued by many to be the finest actor to play James Bond – and known to millions as The Saint and Ivanhoe. On Tuesday, it was reported that the legendary actor had passed away from a short battle with cancer – in Switzerland, at the age of 89. He is survived by his widow, Kristina Tholstrup, and three children.
Moore was more than just an actor – he embodied some of the best-known fictional characters of the age, having suited up to play 007 no less than seven times – making him one of the most prolific Bonds of all time. He was a regular fixture on TV sets worldwide and a household name thanks to leading roles in The Saint and The Persuaders – and beyond his roles on screen, he was a famous goodwill ambassador on behalf of UNICEF, having been introduced to the charity on behalf of fellow actor Audrey Hepburn. The long-time humanitarian and screen great was not just well-loved for his acting chops – his famous wit, effortless charm and embodiment of suave arguably made him one of the most recognizable stars on the planet – and, as such, his loss will leave a considerable space, as well as a remarkable legacy.
Moore famously continued working up until his passing and continued to give audiences as well as remain a regular user of Twitter. The actor is also thought to have battled illness for considerable time, having proven a hardy spirit until the last. One of the faces of the 1960s and 70s, it speaks for his legacy that, even now, his face was recognizable to millions the world over – and till the very end, his spirit and ready wit remained.
Tributes to Moore from the entertainment industry and beyond poured out from sources as diverse as actors Mia Farrow, Russell Crowe and Ewan McGregor – who, as a likewise ambassador for UNICEF, gave special thanks to the late star for having given so much support to humanitarian aid for over a quarter-century. It is thought that the actor will receive a private funeral in the weeks to come.
Roger Moore, to just about everyone, simply was 007 – and while he may no longer be with us, his unparalleled smoothness and lightning wit will likely be remembered for generations to come.