Sir Roger Moore died on Tuesday this week from cancer at the age of 89. Tributes have poured in for the kind and benevolent James Bond star from friends, family and fellow actors.
The actor played Ian Fleming’s master-spy in seven Bond films but despite playing the role for more than a decade, Sir Roger only rated himself as the fourth best Bond, claiming he came “a little bit behind George Lazenby.”
A modest Sir Roger Moore put his success down to sheer luck – ‘and a miniscule bit of talent’. While promoting his second memoir, One Lucky Bastard, the 85-year-old claimed that he was simply in the right place, telling FOX411: “When I started 70 odd years ago I was told that to be a success you’ve got to have talent, personality and luck.”
“I’ve had 99.9 percent luck and the other miniscule percentage would be having had the luck to have a little bit of talent, being able to stand upright and that’s it. It’s all luck.
“It’s no good being the best actor in the world if nobody sees you because you didn’t happen to be there at the right day when a part was being cast.”
Sir Roger’s family confirmed the news of his death on Twitter, saying he had died after “a short but brave battle with cancer”.
The statement, from his children, read: “Thank you Pops for being you, and being so very special to so many people.”
With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated. pic.twitter.com/6dhiA6dnVg
— Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) May 23, 2017
However, among the messages of condolence, none have managed to encapsulate his gentleness and good humour quite as perfectly as this anecdote from London scriptwriter Mark Haynes who recalled a chance meeting with Moore at an airport when he was seven.
The story has already attracted 31,000 interactions and 9,000 shares on Facebook along with numerous widely-shared screen grabs.
Mark’s Sir Roger Moore story
As a seven-year-old in about 1983, in the days before First Class Lounges at airports, I was with my grandad in Nice Airport and saw Roger Moore sitting at the departure gate, reading a paper. I told my granddad I’d just seen James Bond and asked if we could go over so I could get his autograph. My grandad had no idea who James Bond or Roger Moore were, so we walked over and he popped me in front of Roger Moore, with the words “my grandson says you’re famous. Can you sign this?”
As charming as you’d expect, Roger asks my name and duly signs the back of my plane ticket, a fulsome note full of best wishes. I’m ecstatic, but as we head back to our seats, I glance down at the signature. It’s hard to decipher it but it definitely doesn’t say ‘James Bond’. My grandad looks at it, half figures out it says ‘Roger Moore’ – I have absolutely no idea who that is, and my hearts sinks. I tell my grandad he’s signed it wrong, that he’s put someone else’s name – so my grandad heads back to Roger Moore, holding the ticket which he’s only just signed.
I remember staying by our seats and my grandad saying “he says you’ve signed the wrong name. He says your name is James Bond.” Roger Moore’s face crinkled up with realisation and he beckoned me over. When I was by his knee, he leant over, looked from side to side, raised an eyebrow and in a hushed voice said to me, “I have to sign my name as ‘Roger Moore’ because otherwise…Blofeld might find out I was here.” He asked me not to tell anyone that I’d just seen James Bond, and he thanked me for keeping his secret. I went back to our seats, my nerves absolutely jangling with delight. My grandad asked me if he’d signed ‘James Bond.’ No, I said. I’d got it wrong. I was working with James Bond now.
Many, many years later, I was working as a scriptwriter on a recording that involved UNICEF, and Roger Moore was doing a piece to camera as an ambassador. He was completely lovely and while the cameramen were setting up, I told him in passing the story of when I met him in Nice Airport. He was happy to hear it, and he had a chuckle and said “Well, I don’t remember but I’m glad you got to meet James Bond.” So that was lovely.
And then he did something so brilliant. After the filming, he walked past me in the corridor, heading out to his car – but as he got level, he paused, looked both ways, raised an eyebrow and in a hushed voice said, “Of course I remember our meeting in Nice. But I didn’t say anything in there, because those cameramen – any one of them could be working for Blofeld.”
I was as delighted at 30 as I had been at 7. What a man. What a tremendous man.
Following the sad news that Sir Roger had died, Mark has set up a Just Giving page for UNICEF, who the Bond star was a passionate advocate for.