Roger Moore, who starred in seven films as iconic British super-spy James Bond, passed away today in Switzerland following a brief battle with cancer. He was 89 years old.
The news was announced this morning by the actor’s family on his Twitter account. “The love with which he was surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified in words alone,” read the statement, which identified Moore as an actor, UNICEF ambassador and author.
With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated. pic.twitter.com/6dhiA6dnVg
— Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) May 23, 2017
Born in 1927 in Stockwell, London, Moore began his acting career immediately following World War II with a string of minor film and TV roles before moving in 1953 to the United States, where he signed a contract with MGM. He landed supporting roles in The Last Time I Saw Paris, starring Elizabeth Taylor, and Interrupted Melody, with Glenn Ford and Eleanor Parker, but his first big break came in 1956 as the lead on ITV’s Ivanhoe.
Moore successfully crossed over between film and television, starring first in the short-lived U.S. Western The Alaskans and then replacing James Garner on Maverick before a career-defining role as the Robin Hood-style criminal Simon Templar on The Saint, a character he went on to play for six seasons and 118 episodes.
Although his television commitments, including The Saint, made Moore unavailable to play James Bond — Sean Connery was, of course, cast in 1962’s Dr. No — the opportunity again presented itself in 1972, leading to his debut as 007 in Live and Let Die. It’s a decision that cemented his status as a screen icon, changed the course of the franchise, and sparked decades of debate about who’s the better Bond, Connery or Moore.
He reprised the role in six films, over a span of 13 years, and enjoyed poking fun at the character, and his own fame, even appearing in Cannonball Run as a millionaire to obsessed with Roger Moore than he had plastic surgery to make himself look like the actor.
Moore was named in 1991 as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, and in 1999 was granted the title Commander of the British Empire.
The actor remained active in recent years, with a mix of on-screen and voice roles in such projects as Agent Crush, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, The Saint TV movie and Troll Hunters.
A private funeral will be held in Monaco.