Sir Roger Moore has died aged 89.
A statement was released today on the James Bond star’s Twitter account by his family.
It read: “With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated.”
He died in Switzerland after a short battle with cancer.
The London-born star is best known for playing famous secret agent 007.
He starred in seven Bond movies between 1973 and 1985.
Before his glittering movie career, Sir Roger served in the Royal Army Service Corps as a second lieutenant, after being conscripted for national service shortly after the end of the Second World War.
With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated. pic.twitter.com/6dhiA6dnVg
— Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) May 23, 2017
Sir Roger Moore was the son of a poor London policeman from the back streets of Lambeth who grew up to become James Bond and The Saint – as one of the most successful actors of his generation.
And in later life, shocked by the poverty he saw in India, Moore became a goodwill ambassador for Unicef, the United Nations’ children’s fund.
More than a billion people saw him play Bond, making him one of the best-known British actors in the world.
He brought a casual air of dashing elegance, sophistication and a surprising iron streak of ruthlessness to his two most famous roles.
At 6ft 2in with pale blue eyes and fair hair, his debonair good looks were ideal for heroic roles.
But part of his success was due to the sardonic approach he adopted, as if winking at the audience to share a mutual joke saying: “I’m having fun, are you?”
His acting style was sometimes criticised for its lack of depth, yet he achieved huge success while happily acknowledging his limitations.
He once admitted he could not act “in the Olivier sense” but described himself as a good technician.
“When I was doing The Saint on television I had two expressions; as Bond I’ve managed to work up to four,” he joked.
His luxurious off-screen lifestyle was a long way from his roots in south London where he was born at Aldebert Terrace, Lambeth, in 1927, the only son of a policeman.
He went to primary school in Stockwell and, to everyone’s surprise including that of his headmaster, he won a scholarship to Battersea Grammar School.
But at the outbreak of war in 1939 he was evacuated to Worthing in Sussex.
At the time, there was little sign of the debonair charm which was to mark his career. He was quiet, somewhat strait-laced and rather plump with a strong south London accent.
Art was his best and favourite subject and he decided to leave school at the age of 16 to take up a job as an assistant in a London studio specialising in cartoons.
He then tried his hand as a film extra on Caesar and Cleopatra at Denham Studios in 1944, where the co-director Brian Desmond Hurst noticed him not just for his tall good looks but for what he described as animal magnetism.
Hurst persuaded Moore’s father to pay the 17 guineas a term for a course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. But he remained for only three of the six terms because of the financial strain he felt he was putting on his parents.
London in 1944 was starved of young actors by the war and he started to achieve success in both the West End and suburban repertory companies.
But National Service interrupted his career in 1945 just after the end of the war when he was conscripted into the Royal Army Service Corps as an officer.
He was later transferred to the Combined Services Entertainment Unit in Germany.
At the age of 19, Moore married a girl he had met at Rada, Doorn van Steyn, and after returning to civvy street he spent several years living with her in one room of her sister’s house.
In 1989 he was invited by Andrew Lloyd Webber to star in his new musical, Aspects of Love. Despite grave doubts, Moore agreed to accept the part after much persuasion by Lloyd Webber.
But six weeks before the musical was due to open in London’s West End, Moore withdrew because he felt his singing was not up to the role.
It was a courageous act and done, as usual, with the full support of his close family.
Despite having made millions through his film and television career, friends stressed he was one of the most modest and charming actors in the business and all that really mattered were his wife and family.
In 1999, Moore was created a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) on June 14, 2003.
The citation on the knighthood was for Moore’s charity work, which has dominated his public life for more than a decade. Moore said that the citation “meant far more to me than if I had got it for acting… I was proud because I received it on behalf of Unicef as a whole and for all it has achieved over the years”.
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.”