Sir Roger Moore, the longest-serving actor to ever take on the role of James Bond, unfortunately passed away at the age of 89 last week. To say we lost a legend would be an understatement, and the world knows it. One of his fellow James Bond stars, Pierce Brosnan, has now penned a touching, heartfelt and lengthy tribute to Roger Moore, revealing how much respect he had for the actor, as well as some personal insights into their relationship.
Pierce Brosnan penned the column for Variety, in which, he describes Roger Moore as his "first real hero". Roger Moore starred in seven James Bond movies, starting with Live and Let Die and ending with A View to a Kill from the years of 1973 to 1985. In the column, Brosnan explains that, even before his role turn as 007, Roger Moore influenced him on the TV series The Saint as Simon Templar. Here's what he had to say about it.
"Only on reflection do I see how much of an influence Roger Moore had on me as a young Irish immigrant lad from the banks of the River Boyne. I guess the combination of Bond and the Saint ignited a flame for fame in my heart of innocent wonder. I wanted to be up there. Roger as the Saint made me believe in his world. And before I knew it, the man who was the Saint transformed into James Bond, an even greater hero to me as a boy."
Roger Moore had the unenviable task of taking on the role of Bond after Sean Connery, who set the bar for what the on-screen version of the character was supposed to be. George Lazenby played the character once in On Her Majesty's Secret Service as well, but when Connery came back for Diamonds are Forever, it made things even more difficult for Roger Moore. But he made the character his own, and Pierce Brosnan understands on a personal level just how difficult that is, since he starred in four James Bond movies himself. Brosnan spoke to how well Roger Moore rose to that challenge and how much respect he has for him being able to do that.
"He became James Bond, not an easy task for any man. As an actor he must have known the job at hand was Herculean, with an expectant world awaiting; who was next in line? Sean Connery had set the bar high, and George Lazenby, with mighty flair and a valiant heart, had given it his best. Now it was Roger's turn. He knew his time was now, and he reigned over seven movies as James Bond with exceptional skill and comic timing laced with a stiletto vengeance. He knew his comedy, he knew who he was and he played onstage and off with an easy grace and charm. He knew that we knew. We fell in love with a magnificent actor. Never forgetting the audience, never letting the begrudgers in, Sir Roger enthralled the world for many years as Bond. Sir Roger played it to the end with impeccable good manners and a wicked sense of irony that was born of years upon the stage. He saved our world, for heaven's sake, with his movies as James Bond."
Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore will forever be linked in the eyes of moviegoers since they both played the same, legendary part in multiple movies, but they are personally linked as well. Cassandra Harris, Pierce Brosnan's late wife, actually starred in For Your Eyes Only alongside Roger Moore as Lisl von Schlaf. Little did he know he would eventually be the one taking up the 007 mantle. Especially considering that, as he tells it, Roger Moore was the only actor Brosnan ever asked for an autograph.
"He is the only actor I ever asked for an autograph. I was 12 years old, and my mom and dad had taken me to Battersea Park. I lined up by the Ferris wheel and waited my turn to get his autograph. I wanted to be somebody like him. Maybe that's why I waited. Little did I know my time would come to someday enter onto the stage as 007."
Every actor who has played the part of James Bond has brought something unique to the table, but Roger Moore definitely had one of the most distinct takes on it, even if it was a bit corny at times. It is clear that he earned the respect of his 007 counterparts, as evidenced by Pierce Brosnan's words here. You can check out the full column over at Variety.