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Topic: Special agent, tender touch

Special agent, tender touch
Deirdre Fernand meets Sir Roger Moore

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0, … 36,00.html

Sir Roger Moore does not speak so much as purr and growl. "Let me read to you," he says softly. I draw my chair closer. He leafs through the poems of WH Auden and TS Eliot, Larkin and Plath, to alight upon the work of Rudyard Kipling. His sonorous, sexy baritone fills the room. The voice, so familiar to millions around the world as that of James Bond, is part tame tabby, part untamed tiger.

That's how it sounds to me at any rate, but his loyal fans might liken it to the quiet revving of an Aston Martin, the sports car forever associated with agent 007. He loves all Kipling's verse, particularly Tommy and Danny Deever, his poems about the common soldier. "It goes boom, boom, boom," he says, punching out the rhythm in the air. Yes, Sir Roger, a bit like my beating heart.

Nature has been kind to Moore, knighted three years ago for his services to charity. It made this policeman's son from south London straight of back and square of shoulder. During his National Service, he was picked out as officer material because he looked like a leading man. His matinee-idol looks led to an extraordinary successful career spanning 60 years, an estimated personal fortune of £20m and sacks of fan mail from swooning women.

Along with his good friend Sir Michael Caine, he is one of the most recognised British actors of his generation. Commander James Bond, the 1950s creation of Ian Fleming, is perhaps the greatest British fictional icon of the late 20th century, and it helped make Moore an icon, too. But, ever self-deprecating, he claims to have just got "lucky" early on. Of his talents, he once said: "My acting range? Left eyebrow raised, right eyebrow raised."

The actor, who will be 80 next year, was making one of his rare visits to London last week from his home in Monaco to read more of his beloved Kipling in front of an audience at the British Library. He even more rarely gives interviews, but, along with other actors including Ralph Fiennes, Edward Fox and Juliet Stevenson, he has taken part in a series of recitals to popularise some of our finest poets. These feature in a new anthology and CD, called Catching Life by the Throat (published by Virago), which will be distributed to every secondary school in the country.

And nothing could be more pleasing to Moore, who learnt reams of Tennyson and Shakespeare by heart at grammar school. As an ambassador for the children's charity Unicef the subject of education is close to his heart. "I'm not sure that the classics are taught so much any more," he says. Nearly 70 years after he last sat in a classroom to learn by rote the likes of The Charge of the Light Brigade and The Lady of Shalott, he is still word perfect: "I remember so well the first poems I learnt at school. They are engraved in my memory."

It is sheer chance that his trip coincides with the latest Bond film, Casino Royale, which opens later this month starring Daniel Craig. The choice of the gritty Craig, more public house than public school, in contrast to the dashing and elegant figure that Moore cut, has sparked much controversy among diehard Bond fans. Moore has not yet seen the film, but thinks the new 007 has been much maligned.

"I am a great defender of Daniel Craig," he says. "He's a good actor. People have been so beastly, he's not even had a chance." He adds with a knowing smile: "Not that you have to be a good actor...you just have to be able to say, 'My name's Bond, James Bond'."

Moore made seven spy films in all, retiring after A View to a Kill in 1985 at the age of 58. Somehow James Bond OAP just didn't have the same ring as 007. He said at the time that he could not bear to be such a superannuated secret agent, adding that he felt too "embarassed" to be playing love scenes opposite women young enough to be his daughter.

He clearly enjoyed his on-screen antics with Bond babes such as Britt Ekland, Barbara Bach, Carole Bouquet and Jane Seymour, though and remains fiercely loyal to the Bond brand. He does not see the genre as escapist or outdated, but as embedded in our psyche. "Bond is rather like a children's fairy tale, a bedtime story," he says. "It's become an old friend and families have grown up with it. People know what they are going to get: glamour, good action and gadgets."

His relationship with his alter ego is perhaps bittersweet: he knows he can never break free of the role, but he has never let it define him absolutely. "The other thing that happens when a new Bond film opens is that I get bad reviews," he says. "The critics say, 'Thank God, he-whoever it is-wasn't like Roger Moore'." In person he appears to be the very antithesis of Bond, not so much hard nut as soft centre. Talk of his charity work can bring tears to his eyes. Reflective and reserved, he likes to read non-fiction, particularly autobiography: "I certainly don't read thrillers."

He admits to being a hypochondriac, and, by way of a throwaway line, adds The Merck Manual, a medical textbook, to his bedtime reading list. in the early 1990s he was successfully treated for prostate cancer; more recently he had a pacemaker fitted. A knee injury has stopped him going to the gym but he walks and swims as much as he can.

Yet old age brings its tribulations, a constant source of amusement. Last week he also unveiled a plaque at Elstree studios, in Hertfordshire, to commemorate the years he spent there as Simon Templar, filming The Saint. "I thought you had to be dead to get a plaque," he says. "Let's hope it's high enough on the wall so that dogs won't show their disrespect for me."

Of course Moore doesn't need to unveil plaques or give poetry readings. With his millions in the bank, he could have retired quietly, or at least sat back a bit. After all, he has enough children (three) and former wives (three) to ponder. He once turned down the chance to appear on This Is Your Life, saying: "I couldn't bear to think of all those cross ex-wives." After a bruising divorce from his third wife, Luisa, he now shares his comfortable homes in Monaco and Switzerland, with his fourth, Christina Tholstrup.

For the past 13 years he has worked as a goodwill ambassador for Unicef, nothching up thousands of care-miles as he flies around the world. The work has taken him to Vietnam, Cambodia, China and most recently, India. And, as has often been remarked, this do-gooding role is particularly fitting for our hero. The evils he fights today are poverty, famine and disease. He took over the job from his old friend Audrey Hepburn, whom he had met in his early days as a male model. The actress, who died in 1993, urged him to put his celebrity to good use. "She was so passionate about children and their rights that she hooked me. I now know she set out to recruit me."

Moore evidently has the same passion. Three years ag, after he collapsed on stage in New York with heart problems, he was admitted to hospital for a pacemaker to be fitted. Before the operation, he told his cardiologist all about his efforts in the Third World. On the day he was due to leave hospital, the doctor presented him with a £10,000 cheque, so moved was he by Moore's eloquence. "I was so surprised," he says. "Most doctors want you to write them a cheque. Then he told me that he was sorry he was not a Beverly Hills doctor because the figure would have been ten times more."

On a recent trip to Zambia with his wife he toured a school. It was 5 o'clock in the afternoon and the couple asked one of the girls in the class when she had lasty eaten. "I had breakfast yesterday," she replied. Imagine, he says: "How can a child learn with a stomach that is rumbling?" Moore's contract with Unicef earns him a token dollar a year and he is as modest about his charity work as his acting ability: "I don't do it consciously to give something back. I do it because I have the time to do it and I can.

Last edited by Moore Not Less (5th Nov 2006 13:03)

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Re: Special agent, tender touch

What a wonderful man.

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Re: Special agent, tender touch

mrwoodpigeon wrote:

What a wonderful man.

He really is. Moore has got to be one of the most centered, unegotistical movie stars around. Not a trace of arrogance or self-absorption.

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Re: Special agent, tender touch

highhopes wrote:
mrwoodpigeon wrote:

What a wonderful man.

He really is. Moore has got to be one of the most centered, unegotistical movie stars around. Not a trace of arrogance or self-absorption.

And that's why Roger Moore has so many loyal fans, such as myself. He is always immaculate in appearance and dress, is always full of charm and wit, is never afraid to send himself up, and is virtually never critical of anyone or anything. He sets the example that many of today's so called stars/celebrities need to learn from.

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Re: Special agent, tender touch

Moore Not Less wrote:
highhopes wrote:
mrwoodpigeon wrote:

What a wonderful man.

He really is. Moore has got to be one of the most centered, unegotistical movie stars around. Not a trace of arrogance or self-absorption.

And that's why Roger Moore has so many loyal fans, such as myself. He is always immaculate in appearance and dress, is always full of charm and wit, is never afraid to send himself up, and is virtually never critical of anyone or anything. He sets the example that many of today's so called stars/celebrities need to learn from.

I couldn't agree more. He is an absolute gentleman who has never has a bad word to say about anyone. He is extremely modest (perhaps too much so ajb007/wink), obviously has alot of respect for the Bond films and is someone whom I feel proud to describe as one of my favourite Bond actors. ajb007/biggrin ajb007/bond

Last edited by Dan Same (6th Nov 2006 10:35)

"He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back—that’s an earthquake. and then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you’re finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory." Death of a Salesman

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Re: Special agent, tender touch

Dan Same wrote:

someone whom I feel proud to describe as one of my favourite Bod actors. ajb007/biggrin ajb007/bond

I didn't realise he was in that!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-fJv0saBLw

ajb007/biggrin

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Re: Special agent, tender touch

Moore Not Less wrote:
highhopes wrote:
mrwoodpigeon wrote:

What a wonderful man.

He really is. Moore has got to be one of the most centered, unegotistical movie stars around. Not a trace of arrogance or self-absorption.

And that's why Roger Moore has so many loyal fans, such as myself. He is always immaculate in appearance and dress, is always full of charm and wit, is never afraid to send himself up, and is virtually never critical of anyone or anything. He sets the example that many of today's so called stars/celebrities need to learn from.

Here's to Sir Roger  ajb007/cheers  The very definition of a class act  ajb007/bond

"Blood & Ashes"...AVAILABLE on Amazon.co.uk: Get 'Jaded': Blood & Ashes: The Debut Oscar Jade Thriller
"I am not an entrant in the Shakespeare Stakes." - Ian Fleming
"Screw 'em." - Daniel Craig, The Best James Bond EverTM

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Re: Special agent, tender touch

Loeffelholz wrote:
Moore Not Less wrote:
highhopes wrote:

He really is. Moore has got to be one of the most centered, unegotistical movie stars around. Not a trace of arrogance or self-absorption.

And that's why Roger Moore has so many loyal fans, such as myself. He is always immaculate in appearance and dress, is always full of charm and wit, is never afraid to send himself up, and is virtually never critical of anyone or anything. He sets the example that many of today's so called stars/celebrities need to learn from.

Here's to Sir Roger  ajb007/cheers  The very definition of a class act  ajb007/bond

Honestly, Roger Moore, love him or hate him, befriended all his co-stars and others throughout his film career. He may have portrayed what was thought of as the "arrogant" and "smirky" Bond but it's far from what he is as a person.

Yay to Roger Moore! Without him, we wouldn't have AVTAK. ajb007/martini

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Re: Special agent, tender touch

I can't imagine anyone hating Roger Moore...

He was my least favourite Bond, but I've always been a fan.  Loved the Saint, loved the Persuaders...really loved him in 'The Wild Geese'...wish he'd played Bond that way.

Last edited by Loeffelholz (6th Nov 2006 02:19)

"Blood & Ashes"...AVAILABLE on Amazon.co.uk: Get 'Jaded': Blood & Ashes: The Debut Oscar Jade Thriller
"I am not an entrant in the Shakespeare Stakes." - Ian Fleming
"Screw 'em." - Daniel Craig, The Best James Bond EverTM

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Re: Special agent, tender touch

JennyFlexFan wrote:

What a Yay to Roger Moore! Without him, we wouldn't have AVTAK. ajb007/martini

Haha, JFF - a thought just occoured to me.  Pretend that Dalton came aboard one movie early.  Can you picture the Dalton in that movie!

I liked his joke about the dogs disrespecting his sign, very good sense of humour.

When you get the DVD's you'll really appreciate his commentary.

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Re: Special agent, tender touch

emtiem wrote:

I didn't realise he was in that!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-fJv0saBLw

ajb007/biggrin

ajb007/lol I just edited my post. Thanks for informing me. ajb007/wink

Last edited by Dan Same (6th Nov 2006 10:38)

"He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back—that’s an earthquake. and then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you’re finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory." Death of a Salesman

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Re: Special agent, tender touch

emtiem wrote:
Dan Same wrote:

someone whom I feel proud to describe as one of my favourite Bod actors. ajb007/biggrin ajb007/bond

I didn't realise he was in that!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-fJv0saBLw

ajb007/biggrin

Just got it, very sharp emtiem !

Connery was my man, but I have always had the upmost respect from Roger. Reading the post has only re-inforced that.

I saw him Paul O'Grady's show (ITV) a couple of time this year and you wouldn't have thought that there was this 79 year old man. he was getting o with old and young guests alike, particpating in singing and dancing skits etc.

That is a real Hero.