When you think of our culture, there are very few things that people ages 8 to 80 have in common. McDonalds, Superman, Coca Cola.
When I heard of the passing of Roger Moore this morning, it was on the radio. They played an audio clip of Moore saying THE LINE. You know which one. The line that Sean had said in the very first film, and when I heard the news report with Roger so adeptly delivering it I knew… I knew.
He said the line seven times (eight if you count his partial line reading in his amazing turn in Cannonball Run). And each time he was playing the coolest, most amazing man in the world. James Bond was and is an icon of masculine force, with all that entails – good and bad. Mostly good, in my opinion.
Connery was MY Bond, but as I read many people’s comments online today, I realized that Moore was THEIR Bond, because in many instances it was their FIRST Bond. First impressions matter. But what matters more is the execution, the follow-through… and by God, Roger Moore had a hell of a follow through. He played in some of the best and the worse Bond films, and he never phoned it in… You can tell the part mattered to him, in the way he played it. Straight, with a wink.
When he played Simon Templar, he often addressed the audience and winked at the camera. With Bond, he did the same thing, but subtly. And better.
And he always played the part with gravitas, even if he was talking to Holly Goodhead on a space shuttle or Mary Goodnight on an island paradise. Bond wasn’t real, but Roger Moore gave it all he had.
And now… Roger Moore is gone. He lived a great, full life, and he also did good works at the same time. His work as a UNICEF ambassador saved countless lives. In a way, he was the real life James Bond… but his secret weapon was his celebrity, which he put to great use to make the world a slightly better place. Q couldn’t have given him a better gadget.
So, RIP Roger. And thank you for the films, and for The Saint, and for your take on Inspector Clouseau in Trail of the Pink Panther, and for Maverick, and for Ffolkes, and… well, for everything.