Roger Moore – not just a celebrity
Celebrity this. Celebrity that. Just who are these people who will often do anything at the drop of a hat. From sitting in a Big Brother house to eating worms in the jungle, dancing, baking and the rest.
Then there are the real celebrities. People who deserve that title because they have earned it. They have been part of our lives for years and have entertained us well. They have also done much to help others.
One of them is a gentleman who I, and I suspect some of you, remember riding on to our television screens as the dashing Ivanhoe way back in the back and white days of the 1950s.
He was a hero then and he still is today.
His name is Sir Roger Moore. Now he is a man who certainly deserves celebrity status – not just for his fine acting over the years but for his dedicated work with UNICEF which does so much good work in a troubled world.
So, for a perfect Sunday afternoon, you can visit Norwich Theatre Royal on November 13 and listen to Roger talk about his life and times. And what an extraordinary life it has been.
There is more to him than a raised eyebrow and a wry smile. He has had an amazing life on stage, on television, and, of course, on film where he was, for many, THE James Bond – shaken not stirred.
Born in London way back in 1927 this four-times married son of a policeman has turned into one of the great screen gentlemen. Suave, debonair, and a man with a great story to tell.
He was a cartoonist and model – I seem to recall him wearing pullovers in those old knitting leaflets my mum used to have – before turning to acting, training at RADA and making his screen debut in the British movie Caesar and Cleopatra.
Roger did his National Service before heading off to America, making more movies, before he turned to the small screen as Ivanhoe during which he did his own stunts … and often ended up with plenty of bruises.
Thanks to him I was one of a generation of small boys in Norfolk and Suffolk who turned into little Ivanhoes with sticks for swords.
He went on to make The Alaskans and the western Maverick before hitting the big time in 1962 in The Saint. It turned him into a superstar.
With his halo and sports car he made more than 100 episodes watched by 400 million viewers in 106 countries.
The Persuaders with Tony Curtis followed before, in 1973, he announced in Live and Let Die that he was: “Bond – James Bond.”
He went on to make six more Bond movies and he will be spilling the beans on those years when he talks about his life on stage in Norwich.
And getting work after 007 wasn’t that easy.
“I was typecast as a straight leading man and the hero. That’s my acting, because a hero I am not,” he says.
“I didn’t try to free myself from the Bond ties, but I just didn’t like some of the things I was being offered. I’d had enough whizz bangs, being blown up and looking terribly brave,” added Roger.
It was during his time as Bond that his work with UNICEF started which was to change his life.
Filming Octopussy in India he was shocked by the appalling poverty which surrounded him. He listened to what his friend Audrey Hepburn was saying about UNICEF and decided to become a goodwill ambassador.
“I had sufficient celebrity status worldwide from the amount of television I did, with The Saint, The Persuaders and Ivanhoe, so I’d been in people’s living rooms for many years.
“It’s that notoriety that helps UNICEF with spokespeople,” he said.
He has been involved with promoting the wonderful, and life-saving, work it does across the world and fundraising. He was knighted in 2003 for his charity campaigning.
People say. ‘In your role for UNICEF…’and I say. ‘Please don’t say role because it implies you are acting.’ Bond was a role: this is real life.
“We are talking about the fact that thousands of children die every day needlessly of preventable causes,” explained Roger.
Now in his late 80s he still travels the country talking about his life on stage with author Gareth Owen who worked with him on his books My Word is My Bond and Bond on Bond. The show will be followed by an audience question and answer session – a unique opportunity to you to ask a REAL celebrity a question.
An Afternoon with Sir Roger Moore is on Sunday, November 13 at 2.30pm. Tickets from £8 to £25 are available from the box office on Norwich (01603) 630000 or click on www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk