Sir Roger Moore, better known to a generation of movie fans as James Bond, died Tuesday.
Moore’s children—Deborah, Geoffrey, and Christian—announced their father’s death on his official website, writing that he “passed away today in Switzerland after a short but brave battle with cancer.” Moore was 89. A private memorial service will be held in Monaco.
“The affection that our father felt whenever he walked on to a stage or in front of a camera buoyed him and kept him busy working into his 90th year, through to his last appearance in November 2016 on stage at London’s Royal Festival Hall … Thank you Pops for being you, and for being so very special to so many people. Our thoughts must now turn to supporting Kristina [Tholstrup, his wife] at this difficult time.”
Moore, who was also known for his humanitarian efforts through UNICEF, played British agent 007 in, appropriately enough, seven Bond movies: Live and Let Die (1973), 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).
Moore was the fourth of seven actors to play Bond on the silver screen. He gave the character a cultured demeanor but a lighter, more comedic personality. Author Raymond Benson described Moore’s Bond as “a rather smarmy, eyebrow-raising international playboy who never seemed to get hurt.”
Although the most famous James Bond car is the Aston Martin DB5, Moore’s Bond never drove one. He did drive a few memorable vehicles, however, none more celebrated than the Lotus Esprit S1-turned-submarine in The Spy Who Loved Me. Moore’s list of automobiles also includes some unlikely heroes, like the red AMC Hornet that 007 swiped from a Bangkok showroom in The Man with the Golden Gun, a yellow Citroen 2CV in For Your Eyes Only, and an ill-fated Renault 11 taxi cab that gets sliced and diced in A View to a Kill.
Prior to being cast as Bond, Moore starred in two television series, The Saint (1962-69) —his 1967 Volvo P1800 S is one of the most iconic TV cars of all-time—and The Persuaders (1971-72). He also had a memorable role in The Cannonball Run (1981), written by longtime Car and Driver writer and author Brock Yates, in which he perpetually calls himself “Roger Moore,” acts like Bond, and (finally!) drives an Aston Martin DB5.