Born in Stockwell, London, England, Moore was raised an only child by his father, George Moore, a policeman, and his mother, Lillian Pope, a homemaker. While attending Battersea Grammar School in South London, he was evacuated to the western township of Holsworthy during the WWII Nazi air raids. Soon after the war ended, Moore was conscripted into service and served as a captain in the Royal Army Service Corp, for whom he commanded a depot in West Germany. He transferred to the entertainment branch and later attended the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Art for a brief time before landing small roles in films like "Caesar and Cleopatra" (1945) and "Perfect Strangers" (1945). He made his first television appearance with "Drawing Room Detective" (BBC, 1950), and continued making motion pictures with a bit part in the British comedy "One Wild Oat" (1951). Moving to Hollywood in 1953, Moore became a contract player for MGM and began working more steadily in films, landing more substantial parts in "The Last Time I Saw Paris" (1954), starring Elizabeth Taylor and Van Johnson, and the biographical drama "Interrupted Melody" (1955) with Glenn Ford and Eleanor Parker.Following the Lana Turner vehicle "Diane" (1956), Moore began finding work as a male model. Like many actors of the 1950s, Moore started working seriously in the expanding medium of television, landing roles on shows such as "Ivanhoe" (syndicated, 1958-59), in which he portrayed Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe and "The Alaskans" (ABC, 1959-1960), where he played fast-talking swindler Silky Harris. After star James Garner quit "Maverick" (ABC, 1957-1962) following a contract dispute, Moore was cast to play cousin Beau Maverick opposite Jack Kelly's Bart Maverick for the fourth season. Dissatisfied with the quality of the scripts, however, Moore left the show after just one season. But that move proved fortuitous as he went on to play his most iconic TV role, Simon Templar, on the British series, "The Saint" (ITV, 1962-69). Based on Leslie Charteris' long-running novel series, "The Saint" featured Moore as a suave Robin Hood-like thief who targets corrupt politicians and other wealthy types.In its early years, the show was shot in black-and-white and saw Moore routinely break the fourth wall by talking directly to the audience. About halfway through the series' run, however, "The Saint" famously switched to color with the actor delivering a more standard voiceover narration. Many felt that Moore's performance as Templar was a sort of training ground to play James Bond. In fact, there was a bit of foreshadowing concerning Moore's eventual takeover of the Bond role, from a gondola ride in Venice a la "Moonraker" with Lois Maxwell - the actress most recognized as Miss Moneypenny - to Templar pretending to actually be James Bond in an early 1963 episode. Meanwhile, the series was so popular in England that NBC picked it up for a U.S. run, though it received a more lukewarm reception in the States.Moore stepped behind the cameras to direct several episodes of "The Saint," which wound up running for seven years and 118 episodes, making it - alongside "The Avengers" (ITV, 1961-69) - the longest-running series of its kind on British television. Despite this success, Moore grew increasingly tired of the role and was keen to branch out. Further showcasing his inherently sly wit and charm, Moore went on to star on "The Persuaders!" (ITV, 1971-72), which co-starred Tony Curtis. The show featured Moore and Curtis as two wealthy playboys who help solve previously unsolvable cases across Europe. Eventually, Moore became a contender to play James Bond after Sean Connery famously said he would never return to the role after "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971). While there were persistent rumors Moore had been considered for 007 as far back as "Dr. No" (1962), the actor later confirmed that he was never approached or felt in contention until Connery officially left the role behind for good.Already 46 years old, three years older than Connery, Moore took over as James Bond for "Live and Let Die" (1973), a big box office hit that used Blaxploitation tropes popular at the time in its plot that moved away from megalomaniacal villains bent on world domination in favor of drug-pushing street thugs. Despite its box office success, the actor was criticized for his new characterization of Bond, which moved away from the suave super-agent presented by Connery in favor of a campier version who was as quick with a wisecrack as with his Walther PPK weapon. Throughout his tenure, Moore split audiences and critics over this light-hearted portrayal. Moore returned to the role for "The Man with the Golden Gun" (1974), co-starring Christopher Lee as the villain bent on world destruction and Britt Ekland as the requisite beautiful "Bond girl."Following non-Bond turns in "Shout at the Devil" (1976) and "Sherlock Holmes in New York" (1977), where he played the titular detective, Moore returned as 007 for "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977). Featuring the first truly independently minded Bond girl, Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach) - a.k.a. KGB Agent XXX - and fan favorite henchman Jaws (Richard Kiel), "The Spy Who Loved Me" was a major critical and box office hit. Moore followed up with the even more financially successful "Moonraker" (1979), a big-budget "Bond in space" tale aiming to capitalize on the post "Star Wars" (1977) science fiction fad. Full of campy one-liners and extravagant effects, "Moonraker" earned a possibly unfair reputation as being one of the most over-the-top Bond films ever made.In an effort to return Bond to the more grounded espionage movies of the early Connery period, Moore starred in "For Your Eyes Only" (1981). Also that year, Moore parodied his James Bond image in the comic road picture "The Cannonball Run" (1981) before making his sixth appearance as 007 in "Octopussy" (1983), which focused on Bond's attempts to stop a wealthy Afghan prince (Louis Jordan) from stealing a nuclear weapon. Twelve years after taking up the mantle from Sean Connery, Moore made his last film as 007 with "A View to a Kill" (1985). Once he was finished playing Bond - the role was taken over by Timothy Dalton - Moore reduced his work load considerably, making a new film every few years. These included sports drama "Fire, Ice and Dynamite" (1989), romantic comedy "Bed and Breakfast" (1992) and "The Man Who Wouldn't Die" (1995), a thriller directed by future A-list director Bill Condon. Cameos in comedies like the Spice Girls vehicle "Spice World" (1997) and Cuba Gooding Jr's "Boat Trip" (2002) tweaked his Bond image. Following his final film, young adult holiday romance "A Princess for Christmas" (2011), Moore briefly returned to the spotlight as fans celebrated the 50th anniversary of James Bond films in 2012, but following that burst of publicity, he quietly retired to Switzerland. Roger Moore died following a brief struggle with cancer on May 23, 2017. He was 89.
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