Roger Moore — the actor who portrayed James Bond in seven films between 1973 and 1985 — has died at 89, according to a post Tuesday on the actor’s Twitter account.
“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,” his children said in a statement included with the Tweet. “Thank you Pops for being you, and for being so very special to so many people.”
Moore is best known as the man who replaced Sean Connery as 007, taking the famed secret-agent franchise in a more humorous direction that amped up on camp. Becoming a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in 1991, he advocated for children’s causes. He was knighted in 2003.
What Made Sir Roger Moore The Best James Bond
As much Moore’s Bond was indeed saving the world, he was also laughing and eye-rolling at us as he did so. He was in on the joke of his character, and the absurdity of the world he found himself in, but never enough to undermine the necessary illusion of being Bond.
What a wonderful example to grow up with: the perfect man, the hero, the one who was best dressed, calmest, always ready with a witty putdown or piece of sarcasm to puncture a tense moment, rather than simply flinging fists and threats.
The best thing about Moore’s Bond was how jaded and slightly put out he looked having to ski here and there, or fight, or learn the codes to crack something, or take on the hordes of heels ready to do him down.
Bond has never been characterized disastrously, but he is a panoply of interpretations. In an albeit cartoonish and exaggerated frame, Bond-on-film is a jigsaw of masculinity: what it is, and what, at any given time, it is considered to be.
Moore’s Bond emerged in the 1970s and 1980s when men wore cravats and open-necked shirts and sported medallions over chest furze. Beards and moustaches were as out of control as the bell-bottoms they wore.
Roger Moore’s Bond was so perfect because he took a little bit of this outlandishness, but still kept it buttoned up in a Savile Row suit. His Bond was both secret agent and roué: the actual business of being a secret agent always seemed a little bit of a hassle set against his true desire to pursue a gentleman’s life of pleasure and general fabulousness.
Look at how he deals with Jaws on the train: sheer ingenuity. Jaws can pummel him and beat him up, but Moore’s Bond has the edge on figuring out a little electrocution delivered to the teeth will set him up to boot him out of the train window.
The best of Moore is in his fights with Jaws, because even as adversaries both also seem to have a liking for one another: the classic simpatico of little and large.