Sir Roger Moore, former James Bond actor, Bexley and Tunbridge Wells resident, dies aged 89 from cancer
PUBLISHED: 14:30 23 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:46 23 May 2017
News of his death was announced on Tuesday
James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore has died aged 89, it was announced today (Tuesday).
The actor and “loving father”, who once lived in Tunbridge Wells died in Switzerland following a “short but brave battle with cancer”.
The former Unicef ambassador lived in St Mary’s Mount, Wansunt Road in Bexley after marrying Dorothy Squires in 1953.
Speaking in 2014, Sir Roger said he didn’t think he would recognise the borough if he visisted nowadays, adding his home in St Mary’s Mount had since been demolished.
After finding success in sixties television series The Saint, Sir Roger reportedly moved to Tunbridge Wells, before later moving to Surrey and then on to Hollywood.
Only last year, he returned to the county for what would be one of his last movie appearances, as he starred as himself in The Carer alongside Brian Cox.
Filming took place at a number of Kent locations, including Boughton Monchelsea Place, Sutton Valence Care Home, Sutton Valence Main School, Sutton Valence Preparatory School, Headcorn, The Lord Raglan Pub in Staplehurst and the Theatre Royal in Margate.
He also recalled in various interviews how he and his family stayed with a stepaunt in a house at the ‘posh end’ of Margate during holidays as a child.
In a Q&A with The Independent in 2004, he said his first holiday memory was “going to the seaside, to Cliftonville with my mother and father as a child between the wars - and I do mean the First and Second World Wars.
“My mother’s family lived there so we used to stay for two weeks, which was a joy.”
In a statement put out on Sir Roger’s Twitter account, his family wrote: “It is with a heavy heart that we must announce our loving father, Sir Roger Moore, has passed away today in Switzerland after a short but brave battle with cancer.
“The love with which he was surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified in words alone.
“We know our own love and admiration will be magnified many times over, across the world, by people who knew him for his films, his television shows and his passionate work for Unicef, which he considered to be his greatest achievement.
“The affection our father felt whenever he walked on to a stage or in front of a camera buoyed him hugely 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.
“The capacity crowd cheered him on and off stage, shaking the very foundations of the building just a short distance from where he was born.
“Thank you Pops for being you, and for being so very special to so many people.
“Our thoughts must now turn to supporting Kristina at this difficult time, and in accordance with our father’s wishes there will be a private funeral in Monaco.”
The statement was signed by Sir Roger’s children, Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian.
Sir Roger was the longest-serving actor to play the womanising MI6 agent, having portrayed 007 in seven films.
Last year during a question-and-answer session at London’s Southbank Centre, he admitted that, despite winning the coveted role of the martini-swirling spy, one part he wished he had landed was Lawrence of Arabia.
He said: “I remember Bob Baker and I going to see Lawrence of Arabia and coming out both being very depressed and saying ‘We might as well give up the business’, because they had made the best movie that had ever been made.”
Tributes to Sir Roger have been led by The James Bond International Fan Club, which has said “nobody did Bond better”.
A statement from the club read: “Sir Roger will always be remembered as the most enduring actor to play 007 and as a great ambassador for the franchise.
“From his announcement as Sean Connery’s replacement in August 1972 to his retirement in December 1985, he thrilled and charmed a whole new generation of Bond fans and redefined the series.”
They said that in his seven films, “he made James Bond his own”.
“Arguably the greatest purveyor of Cool Britannia before the term had been invented, he kept the British end up as his reign as 007 saw Bond through the 1977 Silver Jubilee and national resurgence in the 1980s.
“He was the Bond not only of his generation but the Daniel Craig generation by keeping Ian Fleming’s gentleman spy alive when people thought his best days were over.
“We are all sad at the passing of a great British icon. Nobody did Bond better.”
Frankie Fitzgerald from Centre Stage Theatre Academy, Bexleyheath, commented: “Roger Moore is one of my inspirations for becoming an actor, the Bond films are such a huge part of my life and I know many of our students are huge fans of the franchise, Mr Moore’s wit and humour mean he will go on to inspire many more young actors. Forever keeping the British End Up! Sleep well Mr Bond.”