Actor Sir Roger Moore, best known for playing James Bond, has died. He was 89.
Moore played the famous spy in seven Bond films including Live and Let Die and A View to a Kill.
Sir Roger’s family confirmed the news on Twitter, saying he had died after “a short but brave battle with cancer”.
The statement, from his children, read: “Thank you Pops for being you, and being so very special to so many people.”
“With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated,” they said in a Twitter post.
The veteran star, who died in Switzerland, will have a private funeral in Monaco in accordance with his wishes, his children said.
“The love with which he was surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified in words alone,” read the statement from Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian.
“Our thoughts must now turn to supporting Kristina [Tholstrup, his wife] at this difficult time.”
He was remembered warmly by fans of the popular U.S. 1950s-60s TV series “Maverick” as Beauregarde Maverick, the English cousin of the Wild West’s Maverick brothers, Bret and Bart. He also starred in the 1959 U.S. series “The Alaskans.”
In England, he had a long-running TV hit with “The Saint,” playing Simon Templar, the enigmatic action hero who helps put wealthy crooks in jail while absconding with their fortunes. By the time the series, which also aired in the United States, ended in 1969, his partnership with its producers had made him a wealthy man.
However, it is the James Bond 007 role he is most remembered for. The actor came to the role in 1973 after Sean Connery tired of it.
Sir Roger’s Bond was calm and suave – a smooth operator who could seemingly get himself out of a tricky situation with ease.
Moore’s relaxed style and sense of whimsy, which relied heavily on the arched eyebrow, seemed a commentary on the essential ridiculousness of the Bond films, in which the handsome British secret agent was as adept at mixing martinis, bedding beautiful women and ordering gourmet meals as he was at disposing of super-villains trying to take over the world.
“To me, the Bond situations are so ridiculous, so outrageous,” he once said. “I mean, this man is supposed to be a spy and yet, everybody knows he’s a spy. Every bartender in the world offers him martinis that are shaken, not stirred. What kind of serious spy is recognized everywhere he goes? It’s outrageous. So you have to treat the humor outrageously as well.”
While he never eclipsed Sean Connery in the public’s eye as the definitive James Bond, Moore did play the role of secret agent 007 in just as many films as Connery did, and he managed to do so while “finding a joke in every situation,” according to film critic Rex Reed.
Moore’s Bond movies
Live and Let Die (1973)
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
A View to a Kill (1985)
In 1991, Moore became a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, having been introduced to the role by the late actress Audrey Hepburn. As Hepburn had, he threw much of his energy into the task.
“I felt small, insignificant and rather ashamed that I had traveled so much making films and ignored what was going on around me,” he said in describing how the work had affected him.
In 1996, when his UNICEF job took him to the World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, he disclosed that he too had been a victim.
“I was molested when I was a child — not seriously — but I didn’t tell my mother until I was 16, because I felt that it was something to be ashamed of,” he told The Associated Press.
He gave no details, but said it was important to encourage young victims not to feel guilty.
“They’re being exploited. We have to tell them that,” Moore said.
UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake called Moore a “great friend” in a statement regarding the star’s death, adding “He once said that it was up to all of us to give children a more peaceful future.”
Moore was divorced three times, from skater Doorn Van Steyn in 1953, English singer Dorothy Squires in 1969 and Italian actress Luisa Mattioli, the mother of his children Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian, in 2000.
He married a fourth time, in 2002, to Swedish socialite Kristina Tholstrup.