Roger Moore relives days as Bond, James Bond

Fri May 29, 2009 3:10pm EDT
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By Jan Harvey

LONDON (Reuters) - It may have been 007 years since Roger Moore's last appearance in a full-length film, but if the standing ovation that welcomed him to the British Film Institute on Thursday evening was anything to judge by, his absence from the big screen has done little to dim his audience appeal.

The London-born actor and star of seven Bond movies and "The Saint" television series appeared in conversation with David Walliams as part of a celebration of the career of Bond producer Cubby Broccoli at the BFI, the British Film Institute.

Broccoli died at his home in Beverly Hills in 1996 at the age of 87.

Still tall and elegant at 81, Moore shrugged off a series of technical hitches to regale the audience with a string of anecdotes from the Bond years.

Asked by Walliams at what point he felt he had stopped being an actor and become a star, he replied: "Well, I was never an 'actor.'"

His relations with Broccoli, with whom he used to play backgammon on the Bond set during breaks in filming, were warm to the last. He first met Broccoli and fellow producer Harry Salzman in 1962 in a London gaming club, the White Elephant.

"Where else is a potential Bond going to meet the producers, except over a gaming table?" he asked.

At the time, Sean Connery was established as Bond, and it wasn't until the late 1960s that Moore was seriously considered for the role. Plans for an early film set in Cambodia were shelved after war broke out there, and Moore went on to work on "The Persuaders!" with Tony Curtis in the early 1970s.   Continued...

<p>British actor Roger Moore looks up at a plane as he and his wife Kristina walk through the Danish village of Mogeltonder May 24, 2008. REUTERS/Bob Strong</p>