Dateline 24 May.
Sir Roger Moore, KBE, the star who’d donned the role of James Bond - after the first protagonist, Sean Connery - passed into the mist of time yesterday. He was 89 and undergoing treatment for cancer. He’d begun his ‘life’ as James Bond in ’73, through the movie, “Live and let die” and signed off with, “A view to a kill” in ’85. He, then, spent his life towards the betterment of destitute children as the brand ambassador of the UNICEF.
Here’s an excerpt of Marc Haynes’ endearing story about him, passed on to me by a friend of mine, on What’sApp:-
“As a seven year old in ’83, in the days before First Class Lounges at airports’ I was with my granddad in Nice Airport and saw Roger Moore sitting at the departure gate, reading a paper. I told my granddad I’d just seen James Bond and asked if we could go over so I could get his autograph. My granddad had no idea who James Bond or Roger Moore were, so we walked over he popped me in front of Roger Moore with the words, “My grandson says you’re famous. Can you sign this?
As charming as you’d expect, Roger asks my name and duly signs the back of my plane ticket, a fulsome note full of best wishes. I’m ecstatic, but it definitely doesn’t say ‘James Bond’. My granddad looks at it, half figures out, it says ‘Roger Moore’ – I’ve absolutely no idea who that is and my heart sinks. I tell my granddad he’s signed it wrong, that he’s put someone else’s name – so my granddad heads back to Roger Moore, holding the ticket which he’s only just signed.
I remember staying by our seats and my granddad saying, “He says you’ve signed the wrong name. He says your name is James Bond”. Roger Moore’s face crinkled up with the realisation and he beckoned me over. When I was by his knee, he leaned over, looked from side to side, raised an eyebrow and in a hushed voice said to me, “I’ve to sign my name as Roger Moore because otherwise.....Blofeld might find out I was here”. He asked me to not to tell anyone that I’d just seen James Bond and thanked me for keeping his secret. I went back to our seats, my nerves absolutely jangling with delight. My granddad asked me if he’d signed ‘James Bond’. No, I said. I’d got it wrong. I was working with James Bond now.
Many, many years later, I was working as a script writer on a recording that involved UNICEF and Roger Moore was doing a piece to camera as an ambassador.. He was completely lovely and while the cameramen were setting up, I told him the story of when I met him in Nice airport. He was happy to hear it and he’d a chuckle and said, “Well, I don’t remember but I’m glad you got to meet James Bond”. So that was lovely.
And then he did something so brilliant. After filming, he walked past me in the corridor,, heading out to his car – but as he got level, he paused, looked both ways, raised an eyebrow and in a hushed voice said, “Of course, I remember our meeting in Nice but I didn’t say anything there because those cameramen – any one of them could be working could be working for Blofeld”.
I was as delighted at 30 as I’d been at 7. What a man! What a tremendous man!!
RIP Roger Moore. My salute to a great actor and a wonderful human being!
Having quoted it, I must confess that my all time favourite James Bond has been Sean Connery.