A couple of months ago, Sir Roger Moore was in Norwich at the Theater Royal. Places and Faces (The magazine for Norfolk and North Suffolk) promoted the event by putting the still suave former 007 on the cover. Also in this issue was coverage of a James Bond themed charity event in Hemsby...
Beyond Bond 007
Mark Nicholls reflects on the life and film career of Sir Roger Moore as he returns to the Norwich Theatre Royal
With the inimitable raised eyebrow and an aristocratic smile, Roger Moore has always cut a suave figure in his screen roles.
From Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders! and Simon Templar in The Saint, it is his performance as James Bond that will forever define Sir Roger as one of the great silver screen stars.
He brought a fresh persona to the role; cast as a seasoned, debonair and deadly playboy agent, yet with a sense of humour and known for his witty one-liners.
Not only was he the oldest actor to have played 007 - he was 45 when he starred in Live 3nd Let Die in 1975 and 58 when he announced his retirement from the role in December 1985 - but he is also the longest-serving, with seven films in 12 years.
Yet far from being typecast, he has enjoyed a wide and varied career, including a number of pantomime roles amid many other film and TV performances.
It is this incredible career that Sir Roger will discuss at the Norwich Theatre Royal on Sunday, November 18, as he chats about his extraordinary life in An Afternoon With Sir Roger Moore.
Celebrating 71 years in show business, the appearance follows on from his sell-out show in 2012 and will see Sir Roger divulge inside stories and exclusive anecdotes covering The Saint and The Persuaders, through to Hollywood blockbusters and, of course, the seven 007 films.
Gareth Owen, an author who has worked with the star on his autobiography My Word Is My Bond and Bond On Bond, will interview Sir Roger, 88, on stage with the show followed by an audience question and answer session.
Born in London in 1927, the son of a policeman, he later served as a second lieutenant in the Royal Army Service Corps during his National Service after World War II, and rose to the rank of captain in command of a depot in West Germany looking after entertainers for the armed forces passing through Hamburg.
Prior to his national service, he studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and was a classmate of his future Bond co-star Lois Maxwell, the original Miss Moneypenny.
Working as a model in the 1950s, he secured minor TV and film roles and even signed a seven-year contract with MGM in 1954, though the films that followed were not successes and in his own words, he conceded: “At MGM. RGM (Roger George Moore) was NBG (no bloody good).*
Eventually, Moore made his name in television as Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe, in the 1958/59 series Ivanhoe, followed by the lead part as "Silky" Harris for the ABC/Warner Brothers
1959/60 western The Alaskans and then as Beau Maverick in the more successful western series, Maverick.
What was arguably his big breakthrough came playing Simon Templar in The Saint (from 1962 to 1969). A global hit running for six seasons over 118 episodes, it made Sir Roger a household name and was a role where he established his suave, quipping style which he ultimately carried forward to James Bond.
Alongside Tony Curtis in The Persuaders! in the early 1970s - featuring the adventures of two millionaire playboys across Europe - he was reportedly paid the then-unheard-of sum of £1 million for a single series, making him the highest paid television actor in the world.
In the late 1960s. Sean Connery had indicated his days as Bond were coming to an end - though George Lazenby was cast in 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Connery played Bond again in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) -but eventually - in August 1972 - Moore was formally approached, and accepted producer Albert Broccoli's offer to be cast as James Bond in Live And Let Die (1973).
Moore continued to portray Bond in The Man With The Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1985), and A View To A Kill (1985).
During that period, he also starred in a number of other films - 15 in all - including the thriller Gold (1974); opposite Lee Marvin in Shout at the Devil (1976); as a commando with Richard Burton and Richard Harris in The Wild Geese (1978); and as a counter-terrorism expert opposite Anthony Perkins in the thriller North Sea Hijack (1979).
A Goodwill Ambassador for the charity organisation UNICEF, he has been married four times, firstly at 19 to fellow RADA student Doom Van Steyn and later to Welsh singer Dorothy Squires, who was 13 years his senior. After their tempestuous relationship ended, Sir Roger married the Italian actress Luisa Mattioli, and together they had three children: actress Deborah and two sons, Geoffrey, who is also an actor, and Christian.
After they separated in 1993. he married Scandinavian socialite, Kristina “Kiki" Tholstrup in 2002. More recently, in July this year, the couple suffered the loss of his step-daughter. Christina Knudsen, who died from cancer aged 47.
In more recent years, Sir Roger's acting career has been varied, from the part of the Chief in Spice World to appearing in four ITV Pantos - Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Aladdin and Dick Whittington - from 1998 to 2002 in roles as diverse as Baron Wasteland, Master of Ceremonies, Widow Twankev and The Mayo, whilst British comedy sketch show Spitting Image also parodied Sir Roger, with a puppet that did little but raise an eyebrow.
Currently dividing his time between homes in Monte Carlo, Switzerland and the south of France, he enjoys an array of Royal connections and was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador of Monaco by Prince Albert II for his efforts in promoting and publicising the principality.
Sir Roger, who has also visited Norwich in the past to sign copies of his books, was knighted in June 2003 for his charity work, adding that the citation: “meant far more to me than if I had got it for acting... I was proud because I received it on behalf of UNICEF as a whole and for all it has achieved over the years."
On October 11 2007, three days before he turned 80, Moore was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work on television and in film.
Forever lauded for his inimitable Bond role, Sir Roger Moore remains one of the great, iconic British actors and a national treasure.
Tickets for An Afternoon With Sir Roger Moore at 2.30pm on Sunday November 13 are priced from £8 to £25 and available from the Box Office on 016036300 00 or online at: www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk
GOLDEN EYE CHARITY CASINO NIGHT
BERMUDA CLUB, HEMSBY
A very successful James Bond-themed fundraising evening took place on Saturday, October 8 in aid of the James Paget Eye Clinic. Organised by Pat Roberts, it was attended by many surgeons and doctors. Ellis G from the Bermuda Club provided the venue and a fantastic hot and cold buffet, Chief Inspector Nick Russell came along with his band, Hit & Run, and there were some fantastic raffle prizes. So far the event has raised £1,100 with donations still to come.
[Source: Places & Faces, November 2016, P.1,15,30-35,120-121. Copyright © 2016 H2Creative Media Limited. Places & Faced is a registered Trade Mark of H2Creative Media Limited.]