Sir Roger Moore, the actor who played the dashing secret agent James Bond in seven films over the course of 12 years, died on Tuesday. He was 89 years old.
“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,” Moore’s children, Deborah, Geoffrey, and Christian, wrote in a statement posted to Twitter shortly after 9 a.m. Eastern on May 23.
Moore, who was born on October 14, 1927, was a prolific television actor in the UK throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, starring in long-running dramas like Maverick and The Saint. His most iconic role, naturally, came in 1973 when he was cast as James Bond in Live and Let Die. Moore was the third actor to play Bond in the main series of films, following the original Bond Sean Connery and George Lazenby, who only played 007 for one film.
Moore would go on to play Bond six additional times, and many of his films rank among the more absurdly charming entries in the series, including Moonraker, The Man With the Golden Gun, and Octopussy. Moore played Bond with a dash of humor, telling Life magazine in 2012 that “To me, the Bond situations are so ridiculous … I mean, this man is supposed to be a spy, and yet everybody knows he’s a spy … it’s outrageous. So you have to treat the humor outrageously as well.”
Moore’s final go-around as Bond came in 1985 with A View to a Kill. He remains the longest-serving Bond actor. He only took up a couple of major acting roles after quitting the secret agent life but became very involved in humanitarian work with UNICEF, having become a Goodwill Ambassador in 1991. He was knighted in 2003.
The late actor was married four times and is survived by three children. His stepdaughter, Christina Knudsen, died of cancer in 2016.
“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 Moore children’s statement reads. “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.”