Sir Roger Moore, the British actor best known for his seven-movie run as James Bond in films like Live And Let Die and The Spy Who Loved Me, has died. His family confirmed the news with a statement released on Twitter saying Moore had died after a brief battle with cancer. He was 89.
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 in 1927, after studying at the Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art Moore moved to the U.S. in 1953 to pursue a film career. However, despite signing a seven-year contract with MGM in 1954, Moore’s career didn’t really take off until he took the starring role in the TV seriesIvanhoe in 1958. In the early ’60s, he became a worldwide star for his role as handsome thief Simon Templar on The Saint, which ran from 1962 to 1969. He then parlayed that status into a starring role alongside Tony Curtis as millionaire playboys on The Persuaders!, which ran from 1971 to 1972.
Moore, the third actor to take on the role of James Bond after Sean Connery and George Lazenby, played 007 from 1973’s Live And Let Die to 1985’s A View To A Kill. He starred in seven Bond movies in total, bringing a lighter tone to the series, which ratcheted up its camp factor during this period. He also brought in big box office: 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me earned $185.4 million, followed by $202 million for 1979’s Moonraker and $194 million for 1981’s For Your Eyes Only.
Although he played a few other notable roles in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s—including Roger Moore-obsessed girdle heir Seymour Goldfarb, Jr. in Cannonball Run—the shadow of Bond would remain over Moore for the rest of his career. He accepted his status with good humor, skewering his suave image in roles like the unnamed “chief” in Spice World (1997) and guest spots like his 1980 appearance on The Muppet Show.
In the 2000s, Moore began doing voice work for projects like Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore, in which he once again spoofed Bond as a character named Tab Lazenby. But perhaps his most significant post-Bond contributions were as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, a role he took on in 1991. He was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1999, and advanced to full knighthood in 2003. He is survived by his fourth wife, Kristina “Kiki” Tholstrup, and his three children.