At 86, Roger Moore is as elegant and suave as ever. Time hasn’t dimmed his piercing deep blue eyes or his sly wit. The actor, known for his seven James Bond flicks, as well as the TV series The Saint and a raft of other roles, was knighted in 2003 by Queen Elizabeth for his work with UNICEF. These days, he kicks back at homes in Monaco and Switzerland with his fourth wife, Kristina Tholstrup — they’ve been together for 21 years — but you can’t exactly say he’s retired. Having recently published his third book, One Lucky Bastard — Tales from Tinseltown, now he’s taking his show on the road with An Evening with Sir Roger Moore. “I talk about the early days and the interesting stuff that happened to me. I even sometimes sing. Well, not actually. I make a noise that I call singing.”
Moore is the first to admit that his years as James Bond have never left him. But he’d like to set the record straight on one thing. “I never said ‘a martini should be shaken not stirred.’ I was nervous enough about having to say, ‘Bond, the name is James Bond,’ because I was afraid it would sound like I was doing an impression of Sean.”
Jeanne Wolf: You’ve had such an eventful life. Do you feel like a lucky bastard?
Roger Moore: Oh, absolutely. I can remember being told when I started out in the business that you needed 33 percent talent, 33 percent personality and looks, and 33 percent luck. I say it’s 99.9 percent luck. I’ve had a number of friends who were very talented, but luck didn’t come their way.
JW: You’ve been married four times. Are you wiser about women at this point in your life?
RM: The secret is that the man always will have the last word, which is “yes-dear.” When it comes to the ladies I’ve shared sets with, I credit Lana Turner for teaching me about kissing. In Diane when the king dies, I say to Lana, “You made me a prince, now make me a king,” and I’m supposed to throw myself on her and kiss her throat. In the first take she fell backward choking and said, “Cut, cut! Roger you are a wonderful kisser but when a lady gets to 35 she has to be careful about the neck. So do it again with the same amount of passion but less pressure.” As for love scenes, usually it’s 8 o’clock on a Monday morning, the studio has been shut over the weekend, the heat hasn’t been on, you’re freezing cold, it’s the middle of winter, and you have to sort of leap into bed with a lady who drops her towel or is wrapped modestly under the sheets and then the romance should start. There is no romance. I remember at the beginning of the first Bond film that I ever did I was in bed with an actress who was very well developed. And I had to have my arm over her rather voluptuous breasts to show that I was wearing a Pulsar watch because they’d paid a lot to get the publicity.
JW: You’ve changed a lot over the years and so has the Bond franchise. What do you think of the new guy, Daniel Craig?
RM: The 007 films have become far more action-oriented, a little more spectacular, and I think that Daniel is the right man for the time. Actually, I think he would have been the right man for any time because he really looks like James Bond should look — like a killer as Sean Connery did. Some people labeled me the most gentlemanly Bond. I think I said, “I could never kill anybody so I’d either bore them to death or hug them to death.” I was a part of some action scenes but I was always thinking “Am I quick enough on my feet to get out of the way of that?” That’s when the ego steps in and you say, “Oh, yes. I can do that. I’m a hero.” But inside I was quivering like mad.