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It has been a sad week.  On May 23, Sir Roger Moore passed away.  He wasn’t the original James Bond, but he was my favorite and the Bond that many of us grew up with.  He was one of my film heroes.

He was also a hero in real life.  Besides his illustrious acting career, Roger Moore was also a humanitarian.  He helped better, and possibly save, the lives of thousands, if not millions, of children around the world due to his UNICEF efforts.  He became an ambassador for UNICEF in 1991 after having been introduced to it by UNICEF ambassador Audrey Hepburn earlier in his acting career.  His efforts with UNICEF earned him a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth.  You can read more about his UNICEF accomplishments on the UNICEF website.

When I was a kid, Roger Moore was the “King of Cool.”  His Bond taught many guys like me how a well-mannered, sophisticated gentleman should act.  I was a small-town boy from southeast Louisiana.  My view of the world was limited. I was filled with pride and excitement when I first learned that Roger’s first Bond film, “Live and Let Die,” was partially filmed in New Orleans, Louisiana (a mere one hour drive from my hometown). Roger Moore’s James Bond opened my eyes to the world and showed me many exotic locales like England, Italy, France, Greece, Egypt, Brazil, Thailand, China, Jamaica and the The Bahamas just to name a few.  Henceforth, my desire to travel abroad and see the world was ignited.
The theme song to Roger’s farewell Bond film, “A View To a Kill,” is considered by many to be one of the best Bond theme songs ever.  Performed by Duran Duran, it is also one of my favorite D.D. songs.  The band still performs it live in concert to this day.   The film score composed by John Barry, veteran of the Bond films who composed and arranged many of the Bond themes and songs, is exquisite and beautiful.  The theme that plays in the film during many of Stacey’s scenes (Stacey is portrayed by Tanya Roberts) transports me to another place every time I hear it.  It’s the same D.D. theme song, but rearranged sublimely.  Simply gorgeous.

Sir Roger also had a wonderful sense of humor that we sometimes saw in his Bond films. However, my favorite Roger Moore comedy performance was in “The Cannonball Run” where he does a wonderful self-parody of a man who actually thinks that he is Roger Moore and is entitled to all of the fame and respect that goes with the name; the 007 film roles, etc.  It takes a brave actor to make fun of himself like that in a major film, especially one with so many other famous stars in the cast.  Not many actors today would have the guts to do it.  As a result, Sir Roger’s performance is one of the more enjoyable and memorable roles in the film.  Highly recommended.

I purchased and read his autobiography that was published in 2008.  I recommend it to anyone who is interested in knowing more about the man behind the actor who officially portrayed James Bond more times than any other actor to date.  The book is full of his personal and professional experiences, as well as his insights into other famous celebrities with whom he was friends.  It also details some of his more poignant moments with UNICEF.

Thank you, Mr. Moore, for a lifetime of entertainment, adventure, humanitarian service and for being a positive role model for millions of people around the world, myself included.  You are already greatly missed, but your legacy, both on-screen and off, will never fade away.