The only double-0 with a halo
Nobody did it better than this animator, background artist, army captain, model, rep actor, contract artist, Ivanhoe, Beau Maverick, Saint, Lord Brett Sinclair, James Bond, film star, and possibly his most important role — an ambassador for UNICEF. Sir Roger Moore: my Bond, my hero, my uncle Roge — our friend.
It's a little over two years since the passing of this great man, and I still miss him every day. I was at work, sat in my car, watching some nonsense on my iPad, when my longest-standing friend called me to say:
"I'm so sorry for your loss".
"What are you talking about?"
"Roger Moore has died".
"F**k off, you bloody liar".
I checked online, and that's when my heart sank. Then over the next three hours, I must have had thirty phone calls from my friends saying the same thing.
It's a funny thing to say that my heart broke at the passing of someone who wasn't a friend, a Facebook friend, or even a relative. But Roger had been in my life for so many years. In the late 1970s, my family were lucky enough to have a video recorder. While my dad worked away and my mum was incredibly ill, I plonked myself in front of it.
What did we have on tape — Cary Grant, David Niven, Richard Burton, The Pink Panther, The Sound of Music, The Saint, and Bond — both Roger and Sean — I watched relentlessly. If you have been unfortunate enough to have met me, you would think, according to my work colleagues: "How does he sound so posh, being a London boy with two brothers who sound like a couple of cockney chavs?" I watched The Saint and Roger's Bond continuously over and over and over again. This not only helped me find my voice and my schoolboy humour but also my hero.
It took almost twenty-five years of stalking before I finally got to meet him. I was lucky enough to have met him a few times, for only a few minutes on each occasion, but each meeting left me on cloud nine. That was one of his abilities, to make you feel relaxed and special for those few seconds while you were in his company, giving you memories to last a lifetime. And then my hero was gone, or so I thought.
As the news broke, and over the following weeks, the universal love and affection started to pour through. Millions of words, hundreds of stories, and thousands of photos were written, shown, or said about uncle Rog — and not a bad word was spoken about a man who had been in the business for almost seven decades.
Each actor and actress who had worked with him talked about how when Roger walked on set, he was the ultimate professional, as well as acting the naughty schoolboy with his high jinks, pranks, and dirty jokes. He knew the first names of everyone — the tea ladies, runners, and camera people — and always said good morning to everyone.
Then there were the stories the fans told. I have two of my own — the first being at Pinewood during a screening of The Spy Who Loved Me, followed by dinner and a Q&A session with Sir Roger. I asked him to say that line. He raised his eyebrow and said, "That line!". He smiled at me and said, "My name is Bond, James Bond". My very own Bond, James Bond.
When he toured with An Evening with Sir Roger Moore, not only did I manage to get him to sign my ticket, but I also asked him to draw me a stick man. It's now under lock and key away from the children. I sent in a question via text message: "If the timing was right, the money was right, and Daniel Craig stepped down, would you consider the role of James Bond? His answer was 'yes', and the audience went wild.
On 23 May 2017, the old world order seemed to pass away with Sir Roger — the glitz, glamour, jet-set lifestyle he lived — and we all would have liked to live— vanished. We seem to be left with an excellent Bond in Daniel Craig, but a very dower Bond in equal measure. At least when Sir Roger played the game with Cubby, things were sorted within a month. We also seem to be left with the dross of the Kardashians and Love Island non-entities who offer nothing to anyone except mind-numbing pain.
Of all the Bonds, as good as they all are, I think we all would want to be Sir Roger. He's still with me, every day; I have the posters, and all his films bar two (if anyone has a copy of Gold of the Seven Saints and Sunday Lovers and doesn't want them, then PM me).
He was a real secret agent keeping his illness private and out of the public eye, which makes him humble and not wanting it to be all about him. He continued to put the children and UNICEF first, making him a real-life Saint, and for me, made his passing so incredibly heartbreaking.
Philip has been a Bond fan since 1981 when he saw For Your Eyes Only at a local cinema. He's been an avid collector of all things Bond ever since: "If I lived in Australia, I'd be the biggest collector in the country…"