Famed British actor Roger Moore passed away today at the age of 89. He was, of course, best known for being the third actor to play James Bond in the long running film series, with his time as the character — spanning twelve years and seven films — being the longest*. Apart from that, he was known for his work on the popular 60s spy show The Saint; and he boasted a wide variety of other television and film work over the years.
Admittedly, Moore’s Bond movies are not always regarded as the greatest on the whole**. I have heard arguments from more than a few that his films are too silly and outlandish, and that his performance suffered in comparison to Sean Connery. Personally, though, I have always enjoyed Moore’s run with the character. I always appreciated the charm and humor he brought to the role. More importantly, I respect him for not simply aping Connery’s take on the character; he really did put his own spin on it. More so than the one-and-done George Lazenby, he proved the validity and financial viability of changing out the James Bond actor every now and then so that others could approach the material with a fresh take. Without his success in the role, it’s arguable that the Bond franchise might not have endured for so many years; and who knows how action-spy-heist films might have been different as a result. For keeping Bond going, he more than earned his stripes.
Anyways, farewell, Mr. Moore. May you entertain souls forever on that big stage in the sky.
*If you count the oddity of 1983’s Never Say Never Again, starring Sean Connery, then Moore’s time as Bond either ties for the longest (counting the number of films an actor appeared in the role) or comes in second (counting the time from an actor’s first film to his last).
**You’d have to be a fool, though, not to recognize 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me as one of the quintessential Bond films.