Sir Roger Moore


  1. Donald Houston, The Blue Lagoon, 1948.     Seen for the second of eight versions of the shipwrecked children growing into lovers on a desert isle. Children? Jean Simmons was 19, Moore 21 and Houston. 25!!! (Molly Adair, the first Emmeline, was 17 in the 1922 silent version. For the 1980 ”story of natural love,” Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins were 15 and19).
  2. James Cagney, Love Me Or Leave Me, 1955.    MGM tested  their contract players willy-nilly – for any film or reason. This is how Metro’s lightweight Brit found himself playing Chicago hoodlum Martin “Moe the Gimp” Synder (!) in a test with singer Joanie James as Ruth Etting. Cagney rated the film in his top five and insisted that his Ruth, had top billing – Doris Day.
  3. Tyrone Power, Witness For The Prosecution, 1957.    American stage and screen director Joshua Logan recommended the baby-faced  Roger (after his Hollywood period) to director Billy Wilder. Trouble was  producer Edward Small wanted one star to top both this Agatha Christie trip and…
  4. Yul  Brynner, Solomon and Sheba, 1958.      … the Biblical  Solomon saga.  Power died during shooting.
  5. Alain Delon, Christine, France-Italy, 1958.     Too old – at 31 – for the lover of Romy Schneider in her first French film. So it was Delon, 23, who greeted the Austrian star  with a huge bouquet of red roses at Orly airport on April 10, 1958 –  the start of the impossible love story of Delon and “ma pupelle,” erupting on and  off  her 1982 death.
  6. Anthony Quinn, Heller in Pink Tights, 1959.The first (and last) Western for Sophia Loren and director George Cukor was no kin  to the Fox musical never made after Marilyn Monroe refused it in 1954: The Girl in Pink Tights). Paramount wanted Alan Ladd as the gunslinger hiding out in Sophia’s acting troupe touring the Old West. Ladd passed, followed by the TV Maverick cousins, James Garner and Roger Moore, plus John Gavin and Jack Lemmon – a once and only Cowboy in 1957. Sophia told me she had difficulty finding tall leading men which is why she voted for another telly-cowpoke, Clint Walker.  But he was busy towering over his Cheyenne series, 1955-1962
  7. Sean Connery, Dr No, 1962.
  8. George Lazenby, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 1969.
  9. Sean Connery, Diamonds Are Forever, 1969.
  10. Robert Powell, Percy Shelley, TV, 1972.   During 1961, London’s Evening Standartd newspsper reported that Moore was anxious to play more serious roles – such as a biopic of poet Shelley. “Needless to say the idea of me becoming a serious actor convinced no one,” said Moore years later, “and playing a major English romantic poet was maybe stretching my range.” The BBC agreed, running from Moore to its Doomwatch and Jude The Obscure star. Powell went on to biopic Charles Stewart Rolls (of Rolls-Royce), Gustave Mahler and Jesus Christ.
  11. George Segal, A Touch of Class, 1972.   With a title like that, it just had to  had to be offered to Cary Grant. Too late! Even though his good friend and business partner in Brit Productions, the Fabergé boss George Barrie, was doing the offering…  Said Cary: “Ten years ago I would have made it in a second.” Not now. He was retired and he meant it this time.  It was, he said, time. To his surprise, George Segal was chosen to replace Roger Moore due to his debut as James Bond (once offered to Grant!)  in Live and Let Dieiginal. But hey, iff you can’t get the or you don’t buy a forgery.  Simply, go against type.  

  12. Edward Fox, The Day of the Jackal, 1973.     Producer John Woolf asked if he’d like the lead.  Absolutely!  Director Fred Zinnemann said: Absolutely not!  “The Jackal moves seamlessly through crowds… unnoticed. You are 6ft 2ins, dashingly good-looking and internationally famous as Simon Templar and Brett Sinclair – how inconspicuous will you be to audiences?” So, Michael Caine, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford were also rejected as Fred got his way about Fox, who had impressed him in the UK film, The Go-Between, 1969.

  13. Edward Fox, A Bridge Too Far, 1976.    When the Bond film  was  delayed, Moore became available. There was just one leading role left: General Brian Horrocks. “He has casting approval,” said director Richard Attenborough, And apparently, he didn’t wish to be played by 007.  (General RE Urquhart had was no problem – his daughters were ecstatic  about Dad being portrayed by Sean Connery). 
  14. Richard Chamberlain, Shogun, TV, 1980.  “When I was doing Moonraker, James Clavell was calling me all the time about doing Shogun.” It finished as an NBC mini-series.  In the first stage of superagent Michael Ovitz’ fascination with James Clavell’s novel about 17th Century feudal Japan, Richard Attenborough was due to direct Moore, Sean Connery or Albert Finney as the heroic Blackthorne caught between fierce warlords. Second stage was a 560 page, 1,062 scene, 2,749  set-up and 12 hour mini-series with, as Chamberlain billed himself, “one of the few Americans they let play British roles.” Roger Moore had passed. Japanese superstar Toshiro Mifune growled away in Japanese, minus sub-titles! And it worked. Splendidly. Blackthorne was thisclose to Will Adams, once planned as a John Huston movie for Peter O’Toole… and  Mifune. 
  15. Tom Selleck, High Road To China, 1983.      Director John Huston was due to make it with Moore and Bo Derek. (Rather down-market names for such  an A List   icon).  Then, Moore had 007 duty. Just as well.  As he always said:  “I can take a star part and turn it into an insignificant role.”  Selleck did not do any better.
  16. Bryan Brown, Tai-Pan. 1985.      Nearly 20 years in the making…  MGM cancelled its 1967-1968 plans – too expensive. Steve McQueen quit a $10m deal in the 70s when his second $1m payment never turned up. And  Moore’s new beard for James Clavell’s hero, Dirk Struan, in 1980, turned up only in The Sea Wolves. “It’s the biggest acting challenge I’ve ever had,” said Roger of another James Clavell book. “I’ve got to act!”
  17. Sylvester Stallone, The Specialist, 1994.        Moore nearly joined Sylvester Stallone in Escape to Victory. Now Sly was being over-hesistant about this crime thriller. Previous choices had been Warren Beatty, Steven Seagal – and now More was invited aboard (with franchise option). “But at the time I was seeing my own specialists about prostate cancer…”  Plus he was all of 67!
  18. Val Kilmer, The Saint, 1997.    Our Sir Rog  played Simon Templar for 118 tele-chapters, stayed with the company making Return of the Saint with Ian Ogilvy and was due for sainthood again as 80s and 90s plans had Moore set to produce a St Pierce Brosnan (!). Or be the ageing hero, finding his illegitimate son – nearly Ralph Fiennes for director Sydney Pollack.  “It was a troubled production,” said Moore.  Final director was Philip Noyce and Moore was out – “first time I was paid not to act in a film” – and junior Saints were in.   Kevin Costner, Johnny Depp, Ralph Fiennes, Mel Gibson, Hugh Grant… and, finally, Kilmer, who later admitted to Moore: “We really screwed that up, didn’t we?”(Moore supplied the voice of a radio newsreader).



Sir Roger Moore was the first cinema Bond to die – May 23, 2017 – ten years after the first screen Bond, Barry Nelson.

“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” – Sean Connery

“Dear Sir Roger Moore… You were a big part of my life, from The Saint to James Bond… you were a magnificent James Bond and one that lead the way for me, the world will miss you and your unique sense of humour for years to come.” – Pierce Brosnan.

“Nobody Does It Better”- Daniel Craig.

 “On the screen, he reinvented the role of James Bond with tremendous skill, charisma and humour. In real life, he was a genuine hero working as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for many years dedicating his life to alleviating the suffering of children all over the world. He was a loyal and beloved friend and his legacy shall live on through his films and the millions of lives he touched.” – Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson.

One of the nicest (and funniest) guys  you’d ever hope to meet , Roger Moore was far from the finest Bond, and he knew it, turning the series into    a bigger joke  than it was ever intended to be.  But,  as he told me as far back as 1980, “I’ve done it, I’ve proved I can do it.  I’ve proved I can make money. And I object to discussing terms for the next film while being threatened with their many clones being tested. Which strikes me as being slightly bad manners. I’m not into that rat-race.”He had played 007t until he was 58 years old, and knew that his clinches with young co-stars in Octopussy and A View to a Kill had the public squirming. “Of course I was getting long in the tooth. I was 58 when I finished. My God, Gary Cooper was seemingly an old man when he was about 56 doing Love in the Afternoon with Audrey Hepburn… When the leading ladies came in and they were younger than my daughter, I thought: Hmm, this is getting on a bit. And then… God, I could’ve had them as grand-daughters. It becomes rather disgusting – dirty old man. I see the blogs where [people write that] I was too light and I was too old… Well, I still got paid, and had a lot of laughs. I didn’t regret any of it.” – TC





 Birth year: 1927Death year: 2017Other name: Casting Calls:  18