Sir Roger Moore has died at the age of 89.
The Bond legend’s family revealed that the actor died after a ‘short but brave’ battle with cancer in Switzerland.
In a statement announcing the star’s death, Sir Roger’s family said that the star had been ‘surrounded’ by love in his final days.
It added: ‘It is with a heavy heart that we must announce our loving father has passed away today in Switzerland after a short but brave battle with cancer.
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Tragic: Sir Roger Moore has passed away at the age of 89
Sir Roger is pictured with his children Geoffrey, Deborah and Christian after he was appointed CBE at Buckingham Palace in 2003
The star’s family revealed that his funeral will take place in Monaco, where he lived with fourth wife Kristina Tholstrup (pictured left and right)
Maud Adams and Britt Ekland pose with Sir Roger Moore in a publicity photo for The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
‘The love with which he has surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified in words alone.’
The star’s family – including his children Deborah, Geoffrey and Cristian – revealed his funeral will take place in Monaco, where he lived with fourth wife Kristina Tholstrup.
The statement added: ‘Our thoughts must now turn to supporting Kristina at this difficult time, and in accordance with our father’s wishes there will be a private funeral in Monaco.’
Speaking about the beloved actor’s biggest achievements, they reveal that he found his charity work for UNICEF to be his life’s most rewarding word.
‘We know our own love and admiration will be magnified many times over, across the world, by people who knew him for his films, his television shows and his passionate work for UNICEF which he considered to be his greatest achievement,’ the statement adds.
‘The affection our father felt whenever he walked on to a stage or in front of a camera buoyed him hugely and kept him busy working into his 90th year, through to his latest appearance in November 2016 on stage at London’s Royal Festival Hall.
Sir Roger Moore starred as James Bond alongside villain Jaws in the iconic film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
The showbiz world, including Russell Crowe and Piers Morgan, reacted with shock and sadness at the death of one of Britain’s most iconic actors
‘The capacity crowd cheered him on and off stage, shaking the very foundations of the building just a short distance from where he was born.
‘Thank you Pops for being you, and before being so very special to so many people.’
Moore enjoyed a stellar showbusiness career spanning over six decades, but he will be forever best known for being the longest-running actor to play suave super-spy 007.
He played James Bond for 12 years and seven 007 films to his credit, starting with 1973’s Live and Let Die.
Shortly after his death was announced, tributes to Sir Roger were led by The James Bond International Fan Club, which has said ‘nobody did Bond better’.
A statement from the club read: ‘Sir Roger will always be remembered as the most enduring actor to play 007 and as a great ambassador for the franchise.
Shortly after his death was announced, tributes to Sir Roger were led by The James Bond International Fan Club, which has said ‘nobody did Bond better’
The ever-modest actor (pictured in The Man With The Golden Gun) put his success down to sheer luck ‘and a miniscule bit of talent’
As well as Bong, Sir Roger was well-known for playing the character of Simon Templar in the television show The Saint
‘From his announcement as Sean Connery’s replacement in August 1972 to his retirement in December 1985, he thrilled and charmed a whole new generation of Bond fans and redefined the series.’
They said that in his seven films, ‘he made James Bond his own’.
‘Arguably the greatest purveyor of Cool Britannia before the term had been invented, he kept the British end up as his reign as 007 saw Bond through the 1977 Silver Jubilee and national resurgence in the 1980s.
‘He was the Bond not only of his generation but the Daniel Craig generation by keeping Ian Fleming’s gentleman spy alive when people thought his best days were over.
‘We are all sad at the passing of a great British icon. Nobody did Bond better.’
But the ever-modest actor put his success down to sheer luck ‘and a miniscule bit of talent’.
Promoting his second memoir, One Lucky B*****d, just four years ago, he claimed that he was simply in the right place.
Sir Roger jokes around with the Duke of Edinburgh at the premiere of James Bond film Moonraker in 1979
‘When I started 70 odd years ago I was told that to be a success you’ve got to have talent, personality and luck,’ he told FOX411.
‘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.’
Unicef paid tribute to Sir Roger, a long-term supporter and goodwill ambassador for the charity.
A statement from Unicef’s executive director Anthony Lake said: ‘In his most famous roles as an actor, Sir Roger was the epitome of cool sophistication, but in his work as a Unicef goodwill ambassador he was a passionate – and highly persuasive – advocate for children.
‘He once said that it was up to all of us to give children a more peaceful future. Together with (his wife) Lady Kristina, he worked very hard to do so.
Moore enjoyed a stellar showbusiness career spanning over six decades, but he will be forever best known for being the longest-running actor to play suave super-spy 007
Unicef paid tribute to Sir Roger (pictured with second wife Dorothy Squires on Hove beach), a long-term supporter and goodwill ambassador for the charity
‘All of us at Unicef extend our deepest sympathies to the Moore family, and join his many friends and admirers from around the world in paying tribute to his life and mourning his loss. He will be deeply missed.’
Fellow Unicef ambassador actor Ewan McGregor added: ‘Thank you, Roger for having championed so tirelessly the rights of all children for the last 26 years.
‘You introduced me to Unicef over a decade ago and have been an inspiration to all of us.
‘I hope that together we’ll continue advocating for the plight of children everywhere, whose most basic rights are still being denied.
‘You’ve shown that we all have the power to make a change to the lives of the most vulnerable children.’
SIR ROGER MOORE: THE FAMILY STATEMENT IN FULL
‘It is with a heavy heart that wed must announce our loving father, Sir roger Moore, has passed away today in Switzerland after a short but brave battle with cancer. The love with which he has surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified in words alone.
‘We know our own love and admiration will be magnified many times over, across the world, by people who knew him for his films, his television shows and his passionate work for UNICEF which he considered to be his greatest achievement.
‘The affection our father felt whenever he walked on to a stage or in front of a camera buoyed him hugely and kept him busy working into his 90th year, through to his latest appearance in November 2016 on stage at London’s Royal Festival Hall. The capacity crowd cheered him on and off stage, shaking the very foundations of the building just a short distance from where he was born.
‘Thank you Pops for being you, and before being so very special to so many people.
‘Our thoughts must now turn to supporting Kristina at this difficult time, and in accordance with our father’s wishes there will be a private funeral in Monaco.’
The son of a poor Lambeth policeman who grew up to portray superspy Bond to more than a billion people
Sir Roger pictured as a baby, where he grew up in south London
Sir Roger Moore was the son of a poor London policeman from the back streets of Lambeth who grew up to become James Bond and The Saint – as one of the most successful actors of his generation.
And in later life, shocked by the poverty he saw in India, Moore became a goodwill ambassador for Unicef, the United Nations’ children’s fund.
More than a billion people saw him play Bond, making him one of the best-known British actors in the world.
He brought a casual air of dashing elegance, sophistication and a surprising iron streak of ruthlessness to his two most famous roles.
At 6ft 2in with pale blue eyes and fair hair, his debonair good looks were ideal for heroic roles.
But part of his success was due to the sardonic approach he adopted, as if winking at the audience to share a mutual joke saying: ‘I’m having fun, are you?’
His acting style was sometimes criticised for its lack of depth, yet he achieved huge success while happily acknowledging his limitations.
He once admitted he could not act ‘in the Olivier sense’ but described himself as a good technician.
‘When I was doing The Saint on television I had two expressions; as Bond I’ve managed to work up to four,’ he joked.
His luxurious off-screen lifestyle was a long way from his roots in south London where he was born at Aldebert Terrace, Lambeth, in 1927, the only son of a policeman.
Sir Roger is pictured with his second wife and Welsh singer Dorothy Squires, who he divorced in 1968
A year after divorcing Dorothy Squires, Sir Roger wold marry Luisa Mattioli. The pair would stay together for almost 30 years, before their split in 1996
Sir Roger and third wife Luisa (right) are pictured together at Cannes Film Festival in 1983
He went to primary school in Stockwell and, to everyone’s surprise including that of his headmaster, he won a scholarship to Battersea Grammar School.
But at the outbreak of war in 1939 he was evacuated to Worthing in Sussex.
At the time, there was little sign of the debonair charm which was to mark his career. He was quiet, somewhat strait-laced and rather plump with a strong south London accent.
Art was his best and favourite subject and he decided to leave school at the age of 16 to take up a job as an assistant in a London studio specialising in cartoons.
He then tried his hand as a film extra on Caesar and Cleopatra at Denham Studios in 1944, where the co-director Brian Desmond Hurst noticed him not just for his tall good looks but for what he described as animal magnetism.
SEVEN FILMS AND A LIFELONG LEGACY: SIR ROGER AS BOND
Sir Roger Moore in Live and Let Die (1973)
Sir Roger Moore played the role of James Bond on the big screen for longer than any other actor.
He held the title for a total of 14 years, from 1972 – when he was officially confirmed as 007 – to 1986, when his successor Timothy Dalton was formally announced.
In total he spent 5,118 days as James Bond and starred in seven films, beginning with Live And Let Die in 1973 and ending with A View To A Kill in 1985.
Current 007 actor Daniel Craig is the second longest-serving Bond, having so far spent 4,239 days playing the secret agent.
He will need to clock up another two-and-a-half years to pass Moore’s record.
Craig’s predecessor as Bond, Pierce Brosnan, is third place in the rankings, while the original 007, Sean Connery, is fourth.
Timothy Dalton, who appeared in two films, is fifth. George Lazenby, star of just one Bond film, is in last place.
Moore was officially unveiled as James Bond at a press conference at the Dorchester Hotel in London on August 1 1972.
‘I think that I’ve got an even-money chance to make it,’ he told reporters. ‘After all, I’ve been around a long time in this business. I did The Saint on television for seven years.’
He would end up playing 007 for twice that long.
Moore said in his autobiography he had been approached about playing James Bond, novelist Ian Fleming’s fictional secret agent, as early as 1967.
But it was not until 1973 that he finally won the role – despite, at 45, being two and a half years older than Connery, the man he replaced.
Moore made his debut in ‘Live and Let Die’, after the producers made him lose weight, get fit and cut his hair.
He followed it with ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’ (1974), ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ (1977), ‘Moonraker’ (1979), ‘For Your Eyes Only’ (1981) and ‘Octopussy’ (1983) before bowing out after ‘A View to a Kill’ in 1985, when he was 57.
‘Sadly, I had to retire from the Bond films,’ Moore said at a ceremony to award him a star on Hollywood’s ‘Walk of Fame’, just ahead of his 80th birthday. ‘The girls were getting younger and I was just getting too old.’
Moore was officially unveiled as James Bond at a press conference at the Dorchester Hotel in London in 1972 (pictured: Moore in 1983’s Octopussy)
Moore said his most enjoyable Bond experience came in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, memorable for a cast of villains that included ‘Jaws’ played by Richard Kiel – who died in 2014 – and gadgets including a Lotus Esprit sports car which doubled as a submarine.
‘I think ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ was the best, or rather the one I enjoyed doing the most,’ Moore told AFP in an email interview in 2007. ‘It had great locations. And I was exceedingly happy working with Lewis Gilbert, the director.’
He had less fun with the actress Grace Jones on ‘A View to a Kill’.
‘I’ve always said that if you’ve nothing nice to say about someone, then you should say nothing. So I’ll say nothing,’ he recalled.
While fans debate which actor proved to be the best incarnation of 007, Moore revealed he had never discussed the subject with the other actors.
Even when Connery emerged from retirement in 1983 to appear in the ‘unofficial’ Bond film ‘Never Say Never Again’ – released in the same year as Moore’s ‘Octopussy’ – the two actors did not discuss the subject.
That was partly due to a mutual friend, Michael Caine, advising them not to be suckered into joining a media-driven ‘Battle of the Bonds’.
‘Sean and I never discussed our experiences… not even with the leading ladies!’ Moore said. ‘Actors don’t really sit around discussing the parts they’ve played – just in case someone says ‘That was crap!”
But he later admitted he was a big fan of the current Bond, British actor Daniel Craig.
‘Daniel Craig is the hardest, then Sean,’ he said in an interview.
Hurst persuaded Moore’s father to pay the 17 guineas a term for a course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. But he remained for only three of the six terms because of the financial strain he felt he was putting on his parents.
London in 1944 was starved of young actors by the war and he started to achieve success in both the West End and suburban repertory companies.
But National Service interrupted his career in 1945 just after the end of the war when he was conscripted into the Royal Army Service Corps as an officer.
He was later transferred to the Combined Services Entertainment Unit in Germany.
At the age of 19, Moore married a girl he had met at Rada, Doorn van Steyn, and after returning to civvy street he spent several years living with her in one room of her sister’s house.
There was little work for the young actor and he began a part-time modelling career to supplement his income with Audrey Hepburn in an advertisement for Valderma ‘to get rid of the blemishes off your back’.
Sir Roger played James Bond for 12 years, starting with 1973’s Live and Let Die (shown)
In 1952 he met the singer Dorothy Squires at the peak of her career, whom he married a year later in the United States after divorcing Doorn.
He had decided to try his luck in America. And, ironically, it was there that he finally lost his cockney accent after Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios sent him to a dialogue director.
He made a number of fairly unimpressive films, including The Last Time I Saw Paris, with Elizabeth Taylor. And it was television which made his reputation with a series of roles as dashing heroes.
It began with Columbia’s Ivanhoe series which was made in Britain. It was followed by The Alaskans and then Maverick.
In a brief return to films, he agreed to co-star with Italian actress Luisa Mattioli in The Rape of the Sabine Women in Rome in 1961.
He fell in love at first sight with the stunning Luisa and they set up home together. His marriage to Dorothy Squires was finally dissolved in 1969 after she at last agreed to divorce after years of acrimony.
In 1962 Moore returned to television after he was picked by ATV boss Lew Grade for the part of Leslie Charteris’s hero Simon Templar, The Saint.
It was the role he played for seven years and, with it, came fame and worldwide recognition.
The man whom one critic said would ‘never make an actor’ was seen eventually in more than 80 countries.
Some believed he would find it impossible to escape the image of The Saint but he returned to television in 1972 in the highly successful series The Persuaders in partnership with Tony Curtis.
But by then he was already earmarked as the next James Bond when Sean Connery decided Diamonds are Forever was to be his curtain-call in the role of 007.
Connery was so much the embodiment of Bond that many sceptics feared Moore would lack the rod of iron behind the suave exterior.
But with the release of Live and Let Die in 1973 he triumphed with a performance which skilfully blended strength with humour.
Six more Bond films followed over the ensuing 12 years – The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill.
At the end of A View to a Kill in 1985 he decided to hand back his licence to kill. ‘I realised that jumping around with bullets and bombs in my middle-fifties was really daft,’ he said.
In 1999, Moore (shown in 2016, right) was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire on June 14, 2003 (left)
He spent twelve years in the role (from his debut in 1973, to his retirement from the role in 1985), and made seven official films. He was also the oldest actor to play Bond: he was 45 when he debuted, and 58 when he announced his retirement on December 3, 1985.
Moore himself was quoted in the contemporary press as saying that he felt embarrassed to be seen making love scenes with beautiful actresses who were young enough to be his daughters.
His James Bond was light-hearted, more so than any other official actor to portray the character. He often portrayed 007 as somewhat of a playboy, with tongue firmly in cheek, but also as a very capable and seasoned detective.
He made a number of other films but discovered the cinema-going public could not always accept a change of image. In some cases, heroes were meant to remain heroes, he once said.
It was in 1983 that his life changed when filming his sixth film as James Bond in India. Shocked at the poverty in India, he became interested in the Third World humanitarian effort. His friend Audrey Hepburn had impressed him with her work for Unicef, and consequently he became a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador in 1991. He was the voice of ‘Santa’ in the Unicef cartoon The Fly Who Loved Me.
Despite having made millions through his film and television career, friends stressed how Moore was one of the most modest and charming actors in the business
In 1989 he was invited by Andrew Lloyd Webber to star in his new musical, Aspects of Love. Despite grave doubts, Moore agreed to accept the part after much persuasion by Lloyd Webber.
But six weeks before the musical was due to open in London’s West End, Moore withdrew because he felt his singing was not up to the role.
It was a courageous act and done, as usual, with the full support of his close family.
Despite having made millions through his film and television career, friends stressed he was one of the most modest and charming actors in the business and all that really mattered were his wife and family.
In 1999, Moore was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) on June 14, 2003.
The citation on the knighthood was for Moore’s charity work, which has dominated his public life for more than a decade. Moore said that the citation ‘meant far more to me than if I had got it for acting… I was proud because I received it on behalf of Unicef as a whole and for all it has achieved over the years’.
Sir Roger Moore (pictured) attends the 50 Years of James Bond Auction at Christies in London back in 2012