Zafri Mudasser Nofil
When Kamal Khan (played by French actor Louis Jourdan), the main villain of the 1983 James Bond film “Octopussy”, told Bond: “You have a nasty habit of surviving”, the 007 agent played by Roger Moore replied: “You know what they say about the fittest.” Moore, the longest-serving Bond, played the much-loved fictional spy, in a record seven films. Having made his Bond debut in 1973 in “Live and Let Die” at the age of 45, he went to play the lead role in another six: “The Man With the Golden Gun” (1974), “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977), “Moonraker” (1979), “For Your Eyes Only” (1981), “Octopussy” (1983) and “A View to a Kill” in 1985. He was 57 when he acted in “A View to a Kill”. On May 23, his fans were in for a rude shock when his family posted a statement on the actor’s official Twitter page announcing his death. He was 89.
“With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated. The love with which he was surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified in words alone,” read the statement signed by Moore’s children, Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian. He once said of death: “My attitude about death is, going into the next room, and it’s a room that the rest of us can’t get into because we don’t have the key. But when we do get the key, we’ll go in there and we’ll see one another again, in some shape or form, or whatever.”
Born in Stockwell, south London, Moore studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). He became a contender for the role of 007 after Scottish actor Sean Connery announced in 1966 that he would no longer be appearing as Bond. Besides his outings as Bond, Moore had an extensive and productive career as an actor in cinema and television. His other prominent performances were in films such as “Bullseye!”, “Bed & Breakfast”, “Curse of the Pink Panther” and “The Quest”.
On small screen, Moore was popular for doing “Ivanhoe”, “The Saint” and “The Persuaders”. Moore penned two books about his time as Bond as well as two autobiographies, including “My Word is My Bond: The Autobiography”, which was
peppered with anecdotes about his encounters with other stars and his memories of his time in Hollywood.
“I’ve not done badly for a boy from Stockwell, where I used to gaze at the silver screen in wonderment, little realising I’d be a part of this magical world,” he wrote in his autobiography, “My Word Is My Bond.” Moore, the third James Bond, came to India twice that included a trip in 1982 for the shooting of “Octopussy”. His second visit came 23 years later in 2005 as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador promoting the use of iodised salt. Some scenes of “Octopussy”, which was released in 1983, were shot in Udaipur in Rajasthan. Permission to film at the various palaces in the city was given by the Maharana of Udaipur. “Octopussy” is the 13th film in the James Bond
series. The film is named after Octopussy, played by Maud Adams, who is the head of a secret order of female bandits and smugglers. The film, also starring Kabir Bedi and Vijay Amritraj, was shot at locations including Lake Pichola and Monsoon Palace. In 2005, Moore was accompanied by his wife to India. The Moores visited a primary school in Bhamoria district in Rajasthan which has had a comprehensive awareness-raising programme on iodised salt. They also visited a mid-day meal project. When a journalist asked Moore the secret of looking so young, he quipped, “iodised salt.” Moore rated his role in “The Spy Who Loved Me” as his best saying he enjoyed doing it the most and it had great locations. Other Bonds spoke highly of Moore. In a statement, Connery said: “I was very sad to hear of Roger’s passing. We had an unusually long relationship by Hollywood standards that was filled with jokes and laughter, I will miss him.” Pierce Brosnan’s wrote a tribute to Moore on Facebook: “Dear Sir Roger Moore, it is indeed with a heavy heart that I hear the news of your passing this morning. “You were a big part of my life, from The Saint to James Bond… you were a magnificent James Bond and one that led the way for me. “The world will miss you and your unique sense of humour for years to come. My sincerest condolences to your family and children. RIP.” Bond girls said they were devastated after to know of Moore’s death. “I am devastated to learn of Roger Moore’s passing. The first leading role I ever had as a Bond girl was such a new and frightening world and Roger held my hand and guided me through every process.
He taught me about work ethic and humility. He was so funny, kind and thoughtful to everyone around him and in that Roger taught me what a movie star really was and should be. Through his lifelong work with UNICEF he showed me the true meaning of being a humanitarian and giving back. He was my Bond,” said Jane Seymour, who acted opposite Moore in “Live and Let Die”.