Sir Roger Moore, the actor who took over the James Bond mantle from Sean Connery and made it all his own, has died after a short battle with cancer according to a statement from his family.
“It is with a heavy heart that we must announce our loving father, Sir Roger Moore, has passed away today in Switzerland after a short but brave battle with cancer. The love with which he was surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified in words alone,” read part of the statement from his children Deborah, Geoffrey, and Christian.
With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated. pic.twitter.com/6dhiA6dnVg
— Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) May 23, 2017
Born in London, England in 1927, Moore’s acting career began in the 1940s and continued until his death, consisting mostly of voice over roles in his later years.
He found steady work in both film and TV in the 1950s before scoring the lead role as thief Simon Templar in the hit series The Saint, which ran for six seasons from 1962-1969. But it was his take as 007 that launched Moore to stardom.
The third actor to play the iconic secret agent (following Connery and George Lazenby), Moore brought a humorous and campy take to his Bond, which lasted over the course of seven films from 1973-1985 – the most for any actor in the role. Adjusted for inflation, Moonraker ranks fifth all-time among Bond movies at the box office.
“Sean, as is Daniel Craig today, looks like a killer. I [could] squeeze them to death with my eyes,” Moore joked during an interview in 2014 comparing his debonair version of Bond to those of Connery and the current 007, Craig.
Outside of acting, Moore was a published author (penning four books) and was very active in charity work with UNICEF, which began, in part, because of a friendship with another Hollywood icon.
“I was very fortunate enough that Audrey Hepburn was a friend and virtually a neighbor. And she called me one morning and asked me if I would go to Amsterdam with her to co-host the Danny Kaye National Children Awards which was a UNICEF program,” Moore said in 2014.
Moore became a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in 1991 and dedicated himself to helping children’s causes. In 1999 his philanthropic work earned him the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and in 2003 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Two years later he received the award that shared his late friend’s name – the UNICEF Snowflake Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award.
In their press release on his passing, Moore’s children noted that he considered his work with UNICEF “to be his greatest achievement” and thanked him “for being so very special to so many people.”
Moore, who married four times, is survived by his children and wife Kristina Tholstrup. A private funeral will be held in Monaco.
(Photo Credit: Facebook)