Born: October 14, 1927
Died: May 23, 2017
Date of Birth: October 14, 1927
Tall, handsome, easy-going, charming—all these adjectives describe Roger Moore. You might think those qualifications would equal an easy pass to stardom, but not only did Moore not have a quick, effortless trip to the top, he lost his first wife because she felt it took too long for him to find success—so she dumped him!
Born in London, England, Moore was moved around a lot as a child, both with and apart from his family due to the bombing during World War II. Although he was a good student, he left school to take a job at 15 with an animation company. A talented illustrator, he felt it was time he added to the family income. Unfortunately, at that young age, he wasn't very responsible and when he showed up to work one day without having picked up cans of processed film as he was asked, he was promptly fired.
Undaunted, he decided to aim his artistic talents towards the stage and was accepted to the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts in London. It was there that he met his first wife, Doorn Van Steyn. After one year at RADA, he left to serve in the British military. While there, he was part of a group of actors who formed a company to entertain the other soldiers. After serving his time, he married Doorn and began auditioning for roles.
They were few and far between—Moore struggled, finding work in small plays, as an extra or bit player in films and finally, in desperation to make ends meet, as a print model. Doorn voiced her disappointment in his lack of ability to support a family and left. He began dating Dorothy Squires, a well-known singer who was 12 years his senior. She often traveled for singing engagements, and he would accompany her. When they were in New York, just days after arriving, Moore landed roles on live television programs such as Robert Montgomery Presents and Hallmark Hall of Fame. With his background in stage, he was well equipped to deal with the stress of working live. Moore married Squires in 1953, once he'd obtained a divorce from Doorn. Back in England, with impressive American credits on his resumé in 1956 he landed the starring role in a new TV series, Ivanhoe, filmed in England and California. When the series drew to an end in 1959, he returned to California, where he continued to work steadily, including playing a regular role on the hit TV series Maverick as Beau Maverick, alongside James Garner as Brett Maverick.
When that series ended, it was back to England to star as Simon Templar in The Saint. The series was a big hit in Europe and North America, enjoying a seven-year run. Life would never be the same for Roger Moore. He was a bonafide star at last, recognized whereever he traveled. He'd made showbusiness connections both in England and the U.S. and producers were offering him roles outright. In 1972, when Sean Connery decided he didn't want to continue playing James Bond in the hit movie series, Moore was approached to take over. If he was famous before, his fame grew tenfold in the role of Bond.
He played Bond in seven films, from Live and Let Die (1973) to A View to a Kill (1985). He has continued to work, although sporadically, since his stint as Bond ended, in films such as Spice World (1997) and Boat Trip (2002) and a 2002 guest appearance on the hit TV series Alias.
On the personal side, while filming Romulus and the Sabines (1961) in Italy, Moore fell in love with Italian actress Luisa Mattioli, who played Silvia in the film. By this time, though he and Dorothy Squires had grown apart, she was furious that he'd found someone else and refused to grant him a divorce. He and Luisa moved in together and had two children out of wedlock. Dorothy finally granted him a divorce in 1968, and Moore wed the mother of his children in 1969. They went on to have a third child in 1973. Though the marriage grew rocky, they stayed together until 1996, when their children were all adults, before obtaining a divorce.
In the 1960s, earned income in Britain over a certain amount was taxed at 87 percent. Moore was in that tax bracket, so he and his family moved to Switzerland. In 2002, having been divorced for several years, he married his fourth wife, Kristina Tholstrup, a neighbor. The two enjoyed homes in several different countries.
Moore worked as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF since 1991 and in 2000 he received an International Humanitarian Award from the London Variety Club for his charity work. In 1999, he was awarded the CBE (Commander Of The Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire). In June 2003 he was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours, and was then known as Sir Roger Moore.
In October 2008 his autobiography, "My Word Is My Bond" was released.
On May 23, 2017, he passed away in Switzerland at age 89.
Gnomes and Trolls: The Forest Trial (2010) (voice)
Agent Crush (2008) (voice)
The Fly Who Loved Me (2004) (voice)
The Enemy (2001)
The Saint (1997) (voice)
The Quest (1996)
Bed & Breakfast (1991)
Feuer, Eis & Dynamit (1990)
The Magic Snowman (1987) (voice)
The Naked Face (1984)
Curse of the Pink Panther (1983)
The Cannonball Run (1981)
Sunday Lovers (1980)
The Sea Wolves (1980)
Escape to Athena (1979)
North Sea Hijack (1979)
The Wild Geese (1978)
Shout at the Devil (1976)
Street People (1976)
That Lucky Touch (1975)
The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970)
The Fiction Makers (1968)
No Man's Land (1962)
Romulus and the Sabines (1961)
Gold of the Seven Saints (1961)
The Sins of Rachel Cade (1961)
The Miracle (1959)
The King's Thief (1955)
Interrupted Melody (1955)
The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954)
Honeymoon Deferred (1950)
Paper Orchid (1949)