Roger Moore / Being eternally known as James Bond has no downside
Roger Moore: ‘Being eternally known as James Bond has no downside’
The actor, 86, on the women in his life, his humanitarian work – and Daniel Craig’s trunks
I’m one lucky bastard. During my early acting years I was told that to succeed you needed personality, talent and luck in equal measure. I contest that. For me it’s been 99% luck. It’s no good being talented and not being in the right place at the right time.
The saddest thing about ageing is that most of my friends are now “in the other room”. I miss David Niven the most. I still can’t watch his films without shedding a tear. There’s a bronze bust of him in my study, given to me by his son, David Jr.
Women have played a big part in my life on and off-screen [Moore has been married to fourth wife, Swedish socialite Kristina Tholstrup, for 12 years] and I think I’ve finally worked them out. I always make sure I have the last word. That word is “yes”.
Intelligence is my most endearing quality, according to Kristina. That’s her Swedish sense of humour.
Being eternally known as Bond has no downside. People often call me “Mr Bond” when we’re out and I don’t mind a bit. Why would I?
The knighthood for my humanitarian work meant more than if it had been for my acting. I’m sure some people would say, “What does an actor know about world issues?” But [working for Unicef] I’ve become an expert on things from the causes of dwarfism to the benefits of breastfeeding. I feel very privileged.
Some of the things I’ve done in my life I’m ashamed of. We don’t talk about those though. If I could give my younger self some advice it would be: “Grow up!”
Friends gave me the heads-up on Steve Coogan’s version of me on The Trip. It did make me laugh. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. It’s difficult to find anything different about me to impersonate though – unlike Michael Caine or Jimmy Stewart, I just have a negative, neutral voice.
I still have some of Bond’s suits in my wardrobe but they don’t fit me now. During the 007 days I was so thin that if I turned sideways you could mark me absent. Thankfully I never had to squeeze into the trunks that Daniel Craig wore – it takes a lot of hard work to look like that.
My mum instilled in me the proverb: “I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet.” Those words are always with me and I’m a believer in showing kindness to others and not expecting repayment.
On-set pranks should always be done while the cameras are rolling so that victims can’t retaliate.
Not being offered Peter O’Toole’s role in Lawrence of Arabia is the biggest regret of my life. Other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Medicine has always fascinated me and I’m a hypochondriac. It’s not that I wake up every morning and think I’m dying. At my age, I know I am.
Last Man Standing: Tales from Tinseltown is out now