Roger Moore was an English actor.
Let’s find out some fun facts about him!
1. Sir Roger George Moore KBE was born 14 October 1927 in Stockwell, London.
2. He was the only child of Lillian “Lily” (née Pope), a housewife, and George Alfred Moore, a policeman.
3. His mother was born in Calcutta, India, of English origin. He attended Battersea Grammar School, but was evacuated to Holsworthy, Devon, during the Second World War, and attended Launceston College.
4. He was further educated at Dr Challoner’s Grammar School in Amersham, Buckinghamshire and then attended the College of the Venerable Bede at the University of Durham, but did not graduate.
5. Moore studied for two terms at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, during which his fees were paid by film director Brian Desmond Hurst, who also used Moore as an extra in his film Trottie True.
6. At RADA, Moore was a classmate of his future Bond co-star Lois Maxwell, the original Miss Moneypenny. Moore chose to leave RADA after six months in order to seek paid employment as an actor.
7. His film idol was Stewart Granger.
8. At the age of 17 Moore appeared as an extra in the film Caesar and Cleopatra (1945), meeting his idol on the set. Later Moore and Granger were both in The Wild Geese (1978), though they had no scenes together.
9. At 18, shortly after the end of the Second World War, Moore was conscripted for national service.
10. On 21 September 1946, he was commissioned into the Royal Army Service Corps as a second lieutenant.
11. He was given the service number 372394. He eventually became a captain, commanding a small depot in West Germany. He later looked after entertainers for the armed forces passing through Hamburg.
12. In the early 1950s, Moore worked as a model, appearing in print advertisements for knitwear (earning him the nickname “The Big Knit”), and a wide range of other products such as toothpaste – an element that many critics have used as typifying his lightweight credentials as an actor.
13. Although Moore signed a seven-year contract with MGM in 1954, the films that followed were not successes and, in his own words, “At MGM, RGM (Roger George Moore) was NBG [no bloody good].”
14. In the 1956 film Diane, Moore was billed third again, this time under Lana Turner and Pedro Armendariz, in a 16th-century period piece set in France with Moore playing Prince Henri, the future king. Moore was released from his MGM contract after only two years following the film’s critical and commercial failure.
15. After that, he spent a few years mainly doing one-shot parts in television series, including an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents in 1959 titled “The Avon Emeralds”. He signed another long-term contract to a studio, this time to Warner Bros.
16. His starring role in The Miracle (1959), a version of the play Das Mirakel for Warner Bros, showcasing Carroll Baker as a nun, had been turned down by Dirk Bogarde.
17. Eventually, Moore made his name in television. He was the eponymous hero, Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe, in the 1958–59 series Ivanhoe, a loose adaptation of the 1819 romantic novel by Sir Walter Scott set in the 12th century during the era of Richard the Lionheart, delving into Ivanhoe’s conflict with Prince John.
18. Moore’s next television series involved playing the lead as “Silky” Harris for the ABC/Warner Brothers 1959–60 western The Alaskans, with co-stars Dorothy Provine as Rocky, Jeff York as Reno and Ray Danton as Nifty.
19. In the wake of The Alaskans, Moore was cast as Beau Maverick, an English-accented cousin of frontier gamblers Bret Maverick (James Garner), Bart Maverick (Jack Kelly) and Brent Maverick (Robert Colbert) in the much more successful ABC/WB western series Maverick.
20. Moore’s debut as Beau Maverick occurred in the first episode of the 1960–61 fourth season, “The Bundle From Britain”, one of four episodes in which he shared screen time with cousin Bart (Jack Kelly).
21. Worldwide fame arrived after Lew Grade cast Moore as Simon Templar in a new adaptation of The Saint, based on the novels by Leslie Charteris.
22. Moore grew increasingly tired of the role, and was keen to branch out. He made two films immediately after the series had ended: Crossplot, a lightweight ‘spy caper’ movie, and the more challenging The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970).
23. Television lured Moore back to star alongside Tony Curtis in The Persuaders!.
24. He is also known for playing Simon Templar in the television series The Saint between 1962 and 1969.
25. Moore took over the role of Bond from Sean Connery in 1972, and made his first appearance as 007 in Live and Let Die (1973).
26. The longest serving Bond to date, Moore portrayed the spy in six more films: The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983), and A View to a Kill (1985).
27. Appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1991, Moore was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003 for “services to charity”.
In 2008, the French government appointed Moore a Commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and the same year he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
28. In 1946, aged 18, Moore married a fellow RADA student, the actress and ice skater Doorn Van Steyn (born Lucy Woodard) who was six years his senior; Moore and Van Steyn lived in Streatham with her family, but tension over money matters and her lack of confidence in his acting ability, inevitably took their toll on the relationship.
29. In 1952, Moore met the Welsh singer Dorothy Squires, who was 13 years his senior, and Van Steyn and Moore divorced the following year. Squires and Moore were married in New York.They lived in Bexley, Kent after their marriage.
30. They moved to the United States in 1954 to develop their careers; but tensions developed in their marriage due to their age differences and Moore’s infatuation with the actress Dorothy Provine, and they moved back to the United Kingdom in 1961. Squires suffered a series of miscarriages during their marriage and Moore later said the outcome of their marriage might have been different if they had been able to have children.
31. In their tempestuous relationship Squires smashed a guitar over his head, and after learning of his affair with the Italian actress Luisa Mattioli, who became Moore’s third wife, Moore said that “She threw a brick through my window. She reached through the glass and grabbed my shirt and she cut her arms doing it…The police came and they said, ‘Madam, you’re bleeding’ and she said, ‘It’s my heart that’s bleeding'”
32. Squires intercepted letters from Mattioli to Moore and planned to include them in her autobiography; but the couple won injunctions against the publication in 1977, which led Squires to unsuccessfully sue them for loss of earnings. The numerous legal cases launched by Squires led her to be declared a vexatious litigant in 1988. Moore paid Squires’s hospital bills after her cancer treatment in 1996, and upon her death in 1998.
33. In 1961, while filming The Rape of the Sabine Women in Italy, Moore left Squires for the Italian actress Luisa Mattioli. Squires refused to accept their separation, and sued Moore for loss of conjugal rights, but Moore refused the court’s order to return to Squires in 28 days.
34. Squires also smashed windows at a house in France where Moore and Mattioli were living, and unsuccessfully sued the actor Kenneth More for libel, as More had introduced Moore and Mattioli at a charity event as “Mr Roger Moore and his wife”.
35. Moore and Mattioli lived together until 1969, when Squires finally granted him a divorce, after they had been separated for seven years. At Moore and Mattioli’s marriage in April 1969 at the Caxton Hall in Westminster, London, a crowd of 600 people were outside, with women screaming his name.
36. Moore had three children with Mattioli: actress-daughter Deborah (born 1963), whose work includes an Oldsmobile commercial; two sons, Geoffrey and Christian. Geoffrey is also an actor, and appeared alongside his father in the 1976 film Sherlock Holmes in New York. In later life he co-founded Hush Restaurant in Mayfair, London, with Jamie Barber. Geoffrey and his wife Loulou have two daughters, Ambra and Mia. Moore’s youngest son, Christian, is a film producer.
37. Moore and Mattioli separated in 1993 after Moore’s affinity with a Swedish born Danish socialite, Kristina “Kiki” Tholstrup. Moore later described his prostate cancer diagnosis in 1993 as “life-changing”, which led him to reassess his life and marriage.
38. Mattioli and Tholstrup had long been friends; but Mattioli was scathing of her in the book she subsequently wrote about her relationship with Moore, Nothing Lasts Forever, describing how she felt betrayed by Tholstrup and discarded by Moore. In her book Mattioli wrote that she felt Tholstrup had “wanted to become me” and also described her as “a hanger-on who has had two husbands and three facelifts”.
39. Moore remained silent on his divorce from Mattioli, later saying that he did not wish to hurt his children by “engaging in a war of words”.
40. Moore’s children refused to speak to him for a period after the divorce, but they were later reconciled with their father.
41. Mattioli refused to grant Moore a divorce until 2000, when a £10 million settlement was agreed.
42. Moore subsequently married Tholstrup in 2002.
43. Moore would later say that he loved Tholstrup as she was “organised”, “serene”, “loving” and “calm”, saying that “I have a difficult life. I rely on Kristina totally. When we are traveling for my job she is the one who packs. Kristina takes care of all that”. Moore also said that his marriage to Tholstrop was “a tranquil relationship, there are no arguments”.
44. Tholstrup had a daughter, Christina Knudsen, from a previous relationship; Knudsen described her stepfather as a positive influence, saying “I was in difficult relationships but that all changed” when her mother met Moore. Christina died from cancer on 25 July 2016, at the age of 47; Moore posted on Twitter that “We are heartbroken” and “We were all with her, surrounding her with love, at the end”.
45. The BBC listed Moore prior to the 2001 UK general election as a celebrity backer of the British Conservative Party.
46. Moore was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2013, which left him unable to drink martinis.
47. He had to learn to walk again after a bout of pneumonia, and had a pacemaker fitted after collapsing on stage.
48. His family announced his death in Switzerland from cancer on 23 May 2017.