For me it was never a question of who was the better Bond between Roger Moore and Sean Connery. It was also never a matter of whether he was capable or incapable of acting in ‘serious’ roles.
Moore had his own English style of cheeky wit and upper crust urbanity with which many first became familiar during his long-running performance as Simon Templar in the 1960s TV series ‘The Saint’.
His sonorous baritone voice and his handsome countenance complete with distinctive mole and chin cleft obviously played a huge part in enabling him to achieve fame and riches. Yet, most do not carve out a niche in the acting business solely by exploiting their physical gifts.
There was more to this RADA-trained son of a London policeman.
He was a raconteur par excellence. His numerous interviews gave us an idea of the man’s charm and quick-witted humour. It was often dry and self-deprecating - a facility which disarmed and won over those who would have been quick to register dislike and approval had he been prone to display any hint of condescension or arrogance.
Much was made of his trademark raising-of the-eyebrow. Many times in jest or mockery but even more times with affection. Granted, he wasn’t a Laurence Olivier or an Alec Guinness; his brand of thespian talent residing in that of the matinee idol and not that of the method actor absorbed in the intricacies of Stanislavkian technique.
His most ‘serious’ role was his well-received performance in the 1970 film entitled ‘The Man Who Haunted Himself’. But his calling was decidedly in light comedy and adventure roles through which he carved out his long-to-be-remembered roles as ‘Simon Templar’, ‘Lord Brett Sinclair’ and ‘James Bond’.
He will also be remembered for his role as an ambassador for the United Nation’s Children’s Fund, a role which he took very seriously and one in which he expressed a great deal of pride. This compassionate side of the man was a longstanding one which led to him receiving a knighthood for services to charity.
Roger George Moore KBE was born on 14 October 1927 and died on 23 May 2017
© Adeyinka Makinde (2017)