Shared from the 2017-05-24 Chattanooga eEdition

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Roger Moore, who played James Bond 007 times, dies at 89

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ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Roger Moore, playing the title role of secret agent 007, James Bond, is shown on location in England in 1972. Moore played Bond in seven films, more than any other actor.

Roger Moore, the dapper British actor who brought tonguein-cheek humor to the James Bond persona in seven films, eclipsing his television career, which had included starring roles in at least five series, died Tuesday in Switzerland. He was 89.

The death, attributed to cancer, was confirmed in a family statement on Twitter.

Moore was the oldest Bond ever hired for films in the official series — although David Niven was in his 50s when he played Bond in the 1967 spoof “Casino Royale” — taking on the role when he was 45. (Sean Connery, who originated the film character and with whom Moore was constantly compared, was 32 when the first Bond film, “Dr. No,” was released.) Moore also had the longest run in the role, beginning in 1973 with “Live and Let Die” and winding up in 1985 with “A View to a Kill.”

When he became 007, the author Ian Fleming’s sexy secret agent with a license to kill, Moore was already well known to U.S. audiences. After playing the title role in a British medieval- adventure series, “Ivanhoe,” shown in the United States in syndication in 1958, and starring in “The Alaskans,” a short-lived (1959-60) ABC gold-rush series, he replaced the departing James Garner in the fourth season (1960-61) of the western hit “Maverick.”

From 1962 to 1969 Moore was Simon Templar, the title character of “The Saint,” a wildly popular British series about an adventurous, smooth-talking thief. It did so well in syndication in the U.S. that NBC adopted it for its prime-time schedule from 1967 to 1969. Two years later, Moore and Tony Curtis starred in ABC’s one-season series “The Persuaders” as playboy partners solving glamorous European crimes.

After surrendering the Bond role to Timothy Dalton, Moore appeared in a half-dozen largely unexceptional movies, made a few television appearances and did voice work in animated films. Mostly, however, he turned his attention elsewhere, becoming a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in 1991. He was made a commander of the British Empire in 1999 and was knighted in 2003.

Moore had definite opinions about playing heroic adventurers long before he became Bond.

“I would say your average hero has a super ego, an invincible attitude and an overall death wish,” he told The New York Times in 1970. “He’s slightly around the twist, isn’t he?”

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