We lost one of the greats today.
Normally when someone passes away, you pick a photo of just the someone. But while Roger Moore was terrific in everything, I think he was at his best when he wasn’t completely dominating the screen. You watch some episodes of The Saint and you’ll see him stealing every shot. That’s to be expected. Simon Templar is a larger-than-life celebrity character and you expect him to talk circles around everybody. All of the guest stars knew to get out of Roger Moore’s way.
But when you watch him in The Persuaders!, which my wife and I have been enjoying for the last couple of months, you can appreciate just how fabulous an actor Moore was. Lord Brett Sinclair is a celebrity as well, but he was brought up with a proper education, the right manners, and reserve. Moore dominates when his character needs to be the hero and the center of the scene, but he’s otherwise more effortlessly and naturally gracious toward his co-stars Tony Curtis and Laurence Naismith, and to all the guests in each episode, allowing everybody to shine.
In short, Moore was a much bigger talent than a lot of wags were ever willing to credit him, thinking of him first as a luvvie showbiz celebrity attending gala events with royalty, and secondly as an actor. But he was one of the greats, from his iconic roles as James Bond and Simon Templar to his incredibly memorable performances as Lord Sinclair, Beau Maverick, Rufus ffolkes, and that ruthless bastard in The Wild Geese. His memoir, My Word is My Bond, is one of the most entertaining autobiographies I’ve ever read, and it contains lots of background about his work with UNICEF, for which he served as an ambassador for nearly thirty years.
Our condolences to Moore’s family and friends, and we join the world in having a martini this evening, shaken, not stirred.