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It's widely known that Roger Moore is the nicest and most down to earth of movie stars, and also one of the most wooden, of course, using Cuprinol as sun tan oil and needs a plain and chisel for his morning shave, that affable personality getting him more jobs than his acting ability ever did! He was so stiff as Bond he must have had Viagra in his cornflakes! Fortunately our 'Rog' is so laid back that he would just chuckle along with the critic and point to his huge bank account, mansion, Bentley and many genuine friends and say who cares! In a nut shell he is a cool guy and so well worth reading up on his memoirs on an interesting life story to tell. Well it's certainly a story to tell but my word does he want to tell it, literally every hour of it.
*The Early Years*
"I was an only child. You see, they achieved perfection first time around"
As a working-class East London lad to a policeman father and dinner lady mother our Roger was a sickly only child and if you can name it he had it, in those days kids exposed to all manner of conditions and illness in the big city slums, suffering from Impetigo and pneumonia and his tonsils out by his fifth birthday. But he was a bright and handsome boy and breezed through school, but being moved around as an evacuee during the war. At 16 he was drafted into national service, but drawing the lucky long straw of working for the PPP (the Public Picture Production), a post war film unit that did propaganda information movies, the nudge towards his acting career. This inevitably led to connections in the film industry and Roger was soon on set trying out as an extra.
The potential film star...
"If you're not going to be great then go for the runner up popularity prize"
Roger makes it quite clear in the book that you got on much quicker in the entertainment industry in the early days if you 'entertain' certain male members of the industry to get jobs, Moore regularly attending parties with sexual deviancy on a level of the Catholic Church. But Roger was as straight as a Roman road and eventually earned a surprise RADA scholarship for not succumbing to their demands. He again makes it quite clear that his career didn't take off because he married young and didn't indulge in what some young actresses take for granted to get on in the business.
Various stage parts flowed and a trip to New York in 1953 would accelerate his career as he built his reputation up by making the move to Broadway, signed up with MGM films and paid the grand total of £400 per week for his services, a huge whack back then. The Kings Feast would be his first feature film for the studio and pretty much his last, fired by 1956, the American audience not taking to his TV style acting. But it would be TV that made Moore, in those days the medium considered a no no for film actors and stars, but for Roger his path to fame, Ivanhoe getting him noticed to a much wider and connected audience. This was followed by a Warner Brothers deal and a second wife for Moore as his career earned some stability as the 1960s ticked up. These are by far the most boring chapters in the book of many as Roger increasingly insists on telling us pretty much everything that happened in his life that he finds relevant. It feels like his editor didn't have the heart to cut that stuff out as his subject is such a nice guy.
The TV star....
Lew Grade: "Tell me how much you earn son!"
Actor: "£20 a night Mr Grade"
Lew Grade:" That's terrible. I can get you £40 a week son. Who is your agent?"
Actor: "You are are".
Its here in the book Roger talks affectionately about his relationship with his agent Lew Grade, the man who would by the head of the BBC one day, getting him the TV show The Saint, which ran for seven years and 118 episodes, of which Rog tried his hand at, directing three episodes. The Persuaders followed, Moore working alongside the colourful Tony Curtis, again TV and not film entrenching his celebrity. It was also about the time Moore set up his production company, another arrow in the quiver for when the acting work dries up. And he would have disappointment behind the executive's desk too, turning down 'A Touch of Class', a film that went on to take many Oscars.
Country to reports Moore was not cast as Bond because of his earlier magazine modelling work. That was the case with the other chap Lazenby but not our Rog. Moore was screen tested many times and it was his height and shoulder line and experience that secured the Live and Let Die gig. In fact he was offered a seven Bond picture deal there and then by Cubby Broccoli, he was so sure about him. He settled for a three film deal in the end and 'Live and Let Die', arguably Moore's best Bond movie, kicked of his career in the tux. There are some on set stories here including tales of many injuries he picked up doing the easier stunts. But it was his cheap and nasty trailer on location that produced the biggest drama, Roger losing the back end of it when a truck careered off a nearby highway and decapitated the silver motor home, a close call as he was sitting on throne just ten minutes before reading The Times, the toilet ending up in the lake! The movie would also produce one of the greatest Bond movie stunts of all time, that of the 360 degree spin as the cop car leapt over the broken bridge. The film would cost £7 million to make but would bring in £26 million world-wide, proof enough that the fans liked their new Bond, Roger bringing more comedy and fun to the role.
The Spy Who Loved Me moved him into super stardom, which meant 87% tax in the U.K, Bond up- sticking to Switzerland to live near his great friend David Niven. Its here Moore tells a rare anecdote, and a funny one to, 'Niv', as his friend calls him, ordering a new swimming pool for his mountain hideaway. But instead of giving the measurements in feet and inches on the blue prints he did it in metric, resulting in a kidney shaped swimming pool with a deep end of 15 meters, not 15ft! Its probably still the deepest pool in western Europe!
The Spy Who Loved Me also did good money but it just didn't have the sex appeal of Connery, and the original Bond, the following Moonraker a special effects muddle. Apparently the latter was bumped on two years as the next Bond project so to feed off the success of Spielberg's Close Encounters; Broccoli thinking his 'space theme' would pull those fans in. Bond trivia fans would be pleased to learn that a young Pierce Brosnon appeared in Moonraker as an extra. A View to a Kill would see Moore pull on the tux for the final time, villain Christopher Walken the first Oscar winner to appear in a Bond movie, more trivia for ya! This Bond movie was also the one when the famous Pinewood studio set burnt down, an event that would happen again for a future Bond.
No more Bond....
Legend has it that Moore and Broccoli fell out when Roger asked for more money to keep playing Bond but Roger is emphatic in the book that the end was amicable, Moore knowing it was time to hang up the tux for a new man, but the return of Sean for the one off 'Never Say Never Again' hinting the producers wanted the old Bond back. Sean says he only did the gig as there was no one else in the producer's minds for a long term Bond. Between and post Bond there were other movies, Wild Geese and Shout at the Devil in the action genre, Bulls Eye and North Sea Hijack in the comedy area, the latter meant to be serious but turning out as some sort of Bond parody by the bearded Moore. But Roger Moore would always be known as Bond, a fete for many of the other 007s, only Sean Connery able to lose the tag and not be typed cast.
"If you want me to make a movie it will cost you 500k. If you want me to read the script it will be 750k!" (George Segal)
Retirement and UNICEF.....
"In the old days I used to get invited out to lavish parties and weddings, now if the phone rings it's another funeral or memorial service".
Roger is passionate about his charity stuff and works for the nominal fee of $1 per year as a UNICEF Ambassador, the single dollar remuneration triggering the appropriate insurance mechanism so the good and the great can go into war zones. He uses the last 50 pages to waffle on about it and by then you have just had enough of his style of boring but warm writing. It's a fabulous charity and one of the very few celebrities that put 100% into his work but he wasn't ever going to talk about the negatives of UNICEF, like the rampant sexual abuse and fraud going on there.
So is the book any good?
This is probably the cosiest biography I have ever read. It's like we are all sitting around Rogers's feet while he is in his dressing gown and reading glasses reading the book back to us, a puff on his pipe between chapters. I'm sure his life has been fabulous but my word he has put it across in a sleepy way, an autobiography ideal for insomniacs looking for a cure. Considering all the names he drops in the book that he is friends with, like Sinatra and the Beatles, the anecdotes and stories just don't follow, a real tease and Moore seemingly honouring some sort of movie star code not to dish the dirt on fellow A-Listers. Sorry Rog old boy but we buy these books for the titbits and reveals, not your housework schedule. That's not to say its bad book but it is a literal trawl that doesn't catch enough fish and certainly makes you feel worn out after its 400 pages. I suppose a lovely guy like this is never going to be speaking ill of anyone, not the best start when you're picking a chunky biography to read.
An excellent autobiography from Roger Moore, the Bond I grew up with in my childhood who always injected humor into his appearances.
Its an extensive read covering his childhood right up to receiving his knighthood from the queen and his Unicef exploits. He has worked and met with absolute legends in his career such as Sinatra, Burton, Frankie Howard, James Stewart. The list is endless.
Personally I would have preferred more on his James Bond exploits as some of the movies are skimmed over a little for my liking. He does have some hilarious anecdotes from career and personal life but balances that with more serious matters such as his health issues and work for Unicef.
He comes across as a thoroughly decent fellow who loves his family and always put them first whenever his career decisions are/were involved. However if you are a real Bond fan like me you might be left wanting more on that major part of his life.
For those that do not know, Roger Moore is the charismatic, self depreciating James Bond actor who recently entered his 80's. High time then for an autobiography by the man himself seeing as he alone knows what he got up to on all those film and TV sets. Moore makes it very plain at the outset that he does not want to put down any of his fellow actors and 'spill the beans' as it were. Apart from his Quest co-star Jean Claude Van Damme he has a lot of good things to say about nearly everyone he worked with.
He details his time as a poorly child who ended up being shipped out of London during the Blitz. His time as a contract star in Hollywood and his various TV roles in those early American westerns. He talks about his relationship with Lew Grade who and his work on The Saint as well as The POersuaders.
As a James Bond fan it's great to read about his behind the scene relationship with the team and some of the funny things that he and the team got up to. It seemed like a much more ramshackle affair back in those early days with Moore getting quite sick of sharks and having a pipe blown in his face to look like he was on the space gyroscope in Moonraker.
It was also really funny to read about him watching the episode of Alan Partridge when he (Steve Coogan using a faux Moore accent) tries to get to the studio but ends up being stuck on the M1. Moore's father thought it was for real and chastised Roger for not turning up - unbeknownst to him it was a send up!
One of the slowest parts of the book was Moore going over every single country he has been to in his duty as a UNICEF ambassador. Although he obviously has done some fantastic work as a UNIVEF worker, Moore goes into great detail which while is obviously very dear and important to him, isn't that interesting reading as a fan of his movies. So while the last couple of chapters are an important part of Moore's life they aren't exactly the most riveting of reading.
Moore has made a career out raising his eyebrows as a way of showing emotion; it was always his dashing good looks that got him the acting work. Moore is most upfront about his limited acting ability, but certainly enjoyed his chance in the fantastic 'Man Who Haunted Himself' (my favourite film of his). But on the most part the book details his life behind the camera with his myriad of wives and sons.
Its a really good book, but you just wished he would dish a little more dirt, but he's too much of a gent to do that!
My Word Is My Bond is the autobiography of Sir Roger Moore and was published in 2008. As someone who is partial to an episode of The Saint on my freeview box and who still loves his super suave Bond saving the world from Carl Stromberg and Hugo Drax in a blazer and a pair of cream flares, I have no problem in declaring that I am a Roger Moore fan. In fact, there wouldn't be a Bond series today for Barbara Broccoli to ruin if Moore hadn't got it through the seventies. My Word Is My Bond is a fairly undemanding but pleasant read that - much like its author - is self-deprecating, modest, slightly bawdy, conversational, nostalgic and generally pleasant. Moore doesn't take himself too seriously and trawls through his long life (he was 80 when this came out) and career with many anecdotes, numerous famous faces (everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Tony Curtis to Noël Coward to David Niven), details and memories from the many films he's made and, as you'd expect, sections on his long service as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Despite his urbane image as the archetypal English gentleman, Moore came from a fairly humble background and was a policeman's son from South London. His early memories are always warm and quite amusing although you do start to wish he would move onto the film career after a while. He recalls the Blitz, the family adopting a monkey (!) and then trying to become an animator. He eventually went to Rada where he met Lois Maxwell, who was later to play Miss Moneypenny in the Connery and Moore Bond films. This era is brought back to life in vivid fashion at times as he remembers provincial theatres and boarding houses. I found Moore's recollections of his brief stint in Hollywood as a young actor to be very interesting. He was married to the singer Dorothy Squires (who was rather eccentric it seems) for a time and under contract to MGM. Neither the marriage or the contract lasted but Moore did get to act alongside a young Elizabeth Taylor in The Last Time I Saw Paris. Moore seems to have fond memories of her, er, chest, which he describes as 'hills of ripe young motherhood.'
It's fun when the book moves onto his television days, especially The Saint, in which he played the debonair troubleshooter Simon Templar and often directed the episodes too. Moore had been constantly linked to James Bond since the inception of the series (Ian Fleming actually had him in mind before Dr No) and it was The Saint that probably convinced the Bond producers that Moore could be a solid 'holding' Bond for them in the seventies after the Lazenby affair and Connery refusing to come back. Moore recalls cold days in Elstree shooting The Saint and always having to pretend on minimal budgets that Templar was in some exotic land far away. This famous era of British fantasy television is fascinating to hear about at first hand. Before he landed James Bond in 1972 Moore managed to do another television series, the somewhat kitsch The Persuaders! with Tony Curtis. His memories of this show are fun too - especially the incident where Curtis calls outraged guest star Joan Collins a certain four letter word!
'When I have nothing nice to say about a person,' writes Moore. 'I'd rather not say anything at all.' It explains the absence of dirt dishing with few people seeming to irritate him in the book. One who did though was Grace Jones, his co-star on A View To A Kill, which seems to have been a difficult experience for Sir Rog at times. 'I'm afraid my diplomatic charm was stretched to the limit. Every day in her dressing room - which was adjacent to mine - she played very loud music. I was not a fan of heavy metal. One day I snapped. I marched into her room, pulled the plug and then went back to my room, picked up a chair and flung it at the wall.' Moore has warm memories of the legendary James Bond producer Cubby Broccoli although he does take issue here with Broccoli's assertion that he gave Roger the heave-ho after A View To A Kill for being too old (he was 57 at the time). Moore maintains he had in fact retired himself from the series and no one asked him to leave.
Moore has nothing earth shattering to say about his time playing James Bond (seven films between 1973 and 1985) and regards it to be a happy experience in the book with a friendly atmosphere on a set comprised of many regulars who worked together on numerous Bonds like a family of sorts. Moore recalls his various injuries and ailments making the films and shares many anecdotes about everything from draughty love scenes at a chilly Pinewood studios to Christopher Lee singing Italian opera in bed while on location in the Far East shooting The Man With The Golden Gun. Some of Moore's passages about his work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador are quite touching at times towards the end. He explains that Audrey Hepburn had persuaded him to become involved in 1991 and when she died in 1993 he felt he had to continue her work.
Some readers might be a little disappointed that Moore doesn't reveal an awful lot in the book. He doesn't indulge in tittle-tattle or gossip, slag people off or drop any personal bombshells. It's not really that type of book although there are occasional moments of sadness. My Word Is My Bond is Moore chatting amiably about his life and career and sharing anecdotes. What I quite liked about the book too is that he manages to mention more or less everything he's been in, even films that people might not be aware of like The Naked Face or Bed and Breakfast. This is not the most demanding or weighty memoir to ever hit the bookshelves but My Word Is My Bond is a fun read for anyone interested in the actor and some of the more famous roles he's taken on in his long career.
Now, if you'll please excuse me, I have to grab my blue blazer, kipper tie and submersible Lotus Esprit and go out to save the world again...
One thing that I got out of Roger Moore's autobiography, "My Word is My Bond", is that Roger Moore is unashamedly part of the old school. Also, like many people, once you have scratched beneath the surface, he is a man of many contradictions. Despite his undeniable charisma and education in RADA, he is an acting journeyman and is quick to point out examples where he chose a job for money over one for credibility. This would happen towards the end of his RADA training. He has enjoyed his career, but sees it as first and foremost as a paying job. Moore was certainly no student of the "Method" school. Perhaps this is the reason why he has never really had a problem with being stereotyped and never really took on many challenging projects, although he does remark fondly on his perhaps most dramatic and darkest role as the lead in "The Man Who Haunted Himself". The film didn't do well at the box office, but stands as an example of what the light-hearted actor was capable of and now, because of this book, we know Moore did enjoy getting a part he could really get his into.
Moore sounds and behaves like a classic English gentleman, a man brought up with privilege, educated through private school and finally graduating via an old university. The opposite is true. Moore grew up in working class South London, attending state schools and never graduated from his university. The detail that Moore goes into regarding his background provides a fascinating insight into what would shape him. Having been evacuated during the Second World War and living through those hard time, Moore understood the worth of a paying job. He used whatever advantage he had at his disposal and wasn't proud so long as it paid bills. His ability to entertain only really emerged during his later service in the army, where he rose to the rank of captain. Interestingly, and in spite of Moore's humble upbringing, the actor claims that he believes he only got the promotion because he fitted a certain officer stereotype.
Contrasting with Moore's physical attributes, which got him a modelling career and eventually heroic roles in film, he was a sickly child and the book regularly describes the different times the actor spent in hospital up until the present day. It is appears to have some bearing on Moore's impulsiveness and willingness to live for the moment.
"My Word is My Bond" does tackle difficult parts of the actor's life, most specifically his three failed marriages. There is the note of honesty running through as time doesn't seem to have stood still for him and today the image of the tongue-in-cheek gentleman charmer is now relegated to the Leslie Phillips persona. To counter this, Moore appears to want to please people. At best this is a pleasant part of the Roger Moore charm we have come to expect, but at worst comes across as a bit insincere. Moore's character is as attractive as ever, reminiscent of some dear old uncle, but there is a firm line drawn in the book regarding how far he wishes to go into his personal feelings and principles. This, of course, flags up some inconvenient inconsistencies. Moore likes the image of being a humanitarian due to his charity work with UNICEF, which gets a promotion chapter all of its own. However, he had no qualms about filming three films in South Africa during apartheid, an action that won him a lot criticism at the time.
Early in the book he remarks on how a childhood incident moved him to loathe the hunting of animals throughout his life, but he then later remarks on having no problem in a production company drugging a load of cats and lying about it to his animal-loving co-star for a scene in a film. Having grown up in a company that trains and supplies animals to the film industry, I have to say that such measures are strictly forbidden (and rightly so) by our trade body's rules of conduct. Moore also likes to appear positive and says that there were only two people in the film industry he disliked, but this doesn't marry up with the arguments and clear clashes he inevitably had during his long career. Being polite and not gossiping is one thing, but these clashes are clearly referenced and seem inconsistent. Perhaps the book requires some stricter editing.
On the whole "My Word is My Bond" is a very light and accessible read on the career of a true British institution. Expect fun anecdotes and an interesting outline on the man's career told with a voice that is line with our perceptions of Roger Moore. In this respect his ghostwriter has done a very good job. To the book's advantage it is a counter to the gossipy showbusiness biographies being churned out by celebrities and journalists alike, but to its disadvantage there is no real sense of the author baring his soul and saying what he really thinks.
Im sorry but comparisons to David Niven's electrifyingly funny "The Moons a Balloon" are way off. I can see how the writing aspires to achieve this, but it falls short. It's not that Roger Moore writes badly, his style is quite adequate. But that's about it. Adequate enough to relay the seemingly relentless supply of anecdotes. But, lets face it, the experiences that any Hollywood actor has gone through are bound to be fascinating. The trick is to relay these experiences with some spark, wit and personality. Despite Mr Moore's reputation for self depracation and wit, this didn't translate itself when it came to writing it all down. Despite this, I ploughed through the book with a stoic zeal, desperate to unearth some of the great actor's (I have my tongue firmly planted in my cheek) legendary dryness. Only to come the end with a sense of disappointment. Sorry Roger..... better stick to the acting.
This is the autobiography of Roger Moore and charts his life from childhood to present day. It is written with warmth, charm and a great deal of wit. From the opening chapters you can tell that Moore was influenced by David Niven's accounts in The Moons A Balloon and Bring On The Empty Horses. Moore does not lack equal amounts of good humour as Niven. He holds firm to his moto throughout that if you don't have a good word to say about someone then say nothing at all. It's incredible how saying nothing can give such a negative view of someone. This book is full of entertaining anecdotes told in an congenial manor and often with the characteristic self depricating wit that Moore so wonderfully posseses. He comes across as simply being a dashing, charming and very nice man and I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good beach read. I'm no particular Bond fan but enjoy a good biography and this is as entertaining as they come.
Want to know who is the best Bond? Wonder no more as here's the definitive list:
As you can see Roger Moore is pretty low down and is probably not the favourite Bond even in his own household. For every 'Live and Let Die' there was 'Octopussy', he singlehandedly made Bond into 'The Saint' on the big screen. Only Brosnan's awful scripts prevent Moore from coming bottom and earning M's wooden spoon. Perhaps I am being too harsh? Many people liked Moore's light hearted Bond films and prefer them to the darker tones of recent efforts. I decided when offered the chance to read Moore's new autobiography 'My Word is my Bond' to see if it could make me change my opinion.
In 2008 Roger Moore turned 80 and this is a ripe age for releasing a biography. 'My Word is my Bond' is a chronological look at Moore's life from his upbringing during WW2, his early days as an actor, 'The Saint', 'The Persuaders', Bond, and UNICEF. Interspersed between these jobs are several marriages and a whole load of absolutely awful films. With a light-hearted approach Moore set out to entertain the reader as well as inform them of his life.
With many of the people he knew no longer with us the opportunity to delve deep into Hollywood scandal is open for Moore. However, this never happens for a number of reasons and is one reason that the book is disappointing. Firstly, Moore comes across as an old fashioned 'lovey' who will not talk ill of anyone. This kind of undermines the point of an autobiography imo. Secondly, his career had him brushing up with many famous people, but most of them were older and not particularly radical. Finally, I am not sure how deep this book went, in fact, I felt that it was incredibly shallow.
Throughout the book Moore paints himself as a decent man and as a UNICEF ambassador and Knight I am sure that he is. However, like most people he has darker times in his life that he is not proud of. Rather than go into any detail about them he skims over the events. Some good examples include; his three divorces and his willingness to work in South Africa during the apartheid. Having been in film and TV for decades Moore writes like he is out of touch (not surprising for an 80 year old man). The Apartheid issue for one is very dubious, "we were helping the people" - whatever. The most poignant elements of the book are easily the UNICEF sections towards the end and he uses his celebrity to drum up funds. However, am I the only one a little bemused about him writing how he went from a hospital full of limbless children to the yacht of a ruler for a delicious meal? It seems that Moore has become closeted within a life of success and excess.
This is fair enough as he has been famous forever. However, to sell me on the idea of a truthful biog you have to give me something to believe. The best thing is to provide some controversy and tell us something we do not know - that way we do not question the stuff you are hiding. Moore provides nothing but hints at divorce etc. No person can be as white as Moore paints himself to be so I spent the entire book disbelieving.
Despite all these misgivings it became clear that this was not ever meant to be a deep autobiography. Instead, it is supposed to be an old fashioned one in the vein of David Niven. If you are looking for a light hearted book that tells funny stories about the actors from the 50s to the 80s then this is a good book. It's clear that Moore is up for a laugh and that he made friends throughout his life very easily. With the likes of Sinatra, Elton John, Niven, Cary Grant and many others mentioned in the book you start to enjoy the excessive name dropping. Moore writes in a very personable and warm style as if talking to a friend rattling off little vignettes as if at a dinner party. This does lead to issues in structure as the book is packed to the gills with stories and they sometimes become too much as you lose the thread of Moore's life.
Your enjoyment of Moore's 'My Word is my Bond' will depend on what you expect from an autobiography. Modern misery based literature will have us reading books about child abuse and depressing lives. This is not the case here as Moore provides a solidly old fashioned style of biog that has many funny stories. Overall, I would have liked a little more structure to the book so that I could discover more about the man. What I did learn is that he writes a funny tale and for that I enjoyed the book.
Author: Roger Moore
Price: amazon uk - £8.80
play.com - £11.99
Who cannot love Sir Roger Moore, the man is ageless, he is droll, handsome and such a fine and respected actor. This book finally tells the tale of Roger's long life, right from the early days up to now.
Who: Roger Moore was born in 1927 and has made himself a household name playing The Saint and most noteably James Bond. He has appeared in dozens of hit films and also The Persuaders tv show.
When: Roger's career spans pretty much from his teens right up to this day. He pops up in the odd cameo here and there, but these days mainly focuses on charity work.
A good read?: This is a well written book, it is told with humour and written intelligently. Roger relies on his dry wit a lot of the time. There is a lot of attention paid to the Bond films, so Bond fans will be suitably impressed. All chapters of his life are encompasses and it does feel like you get the complete picture.
Artwork: Lovely cover shot and some rare photos inside, on glossy print
Price: Anywhere between ten and twenty pounds depending on if you pick it up in a sale. RRP is twenty though
Overall: A fine and joyful read that will make you smile
The title of this book is called My Word is My Bond, and I think that the title is spot on for the person we are reading about. When it was announced the book was to be written I was extremely curious as to how Moore would approach the telling of his life. So you can imagine I was absolutely ecstatic to receive this book at Christmas; to give him his full name. Roger George Moore is one of my favourite actors and to have a published an official biography was a rare treat as the actor prefers to keep his private life to himself.
The style of writing is consistent with the manner that Moore would speak to people in normal life, basically as if he was telling a story, and throughout you tend to pick up on the unique way in which the renowned actor has embraced life whether it is a knock back from not receiving a part or the realisation what a double edged sword taking the role of James Bond could actually be, all are described in great detail, to which by the end of the book you realise what the man has actually been through. From the accommodation in an inner city slum in London to living in Monaco, it is all discussed in glorious detail and opens up some truly fascinating stories about the actor himself.
The book is split up in to each stage of his life. It is described in granular detail allowing the reader to paint a mental picture of what it must have been like to live in London in the mid-forties. Personally for me the antics of the young Roger Moore getting up to mischief in London as a child are absolutely gold. Through the descriptions given this gives the reader a strong idea of a time well before Playstations and mobile phones where children had to something which usually meant having to be outside the house. I was also surprised to learn that Moore was a wartime child evacuee and was sent away to the safety of the country at a time when thousands of other children were in the same situation. Throughout you find a number of nuggets of information that really makes you realise what a tough upbringing Moore actually had and also what an unhealthy time Moore it was for him with regards to being admitted to Hospital on a regular basis.
As you imagine Moore has had a number of encounters with a lot of actors and even though the book is littered with names such as David Niven, Telly Savalas and so on, all are used within context and never in an over the top fashion that portrays them as a "look who I know" manner that can act as a parasite. In places Moore gives a lot of credit to certain people as well which considerably raises the quality of the issue being discussed.
I have read other celebrity/ film star biographies and found them to be a type of release for the person whose story it is to attempt to win or settle arguments. Here it is totally different, at the beginning of the book Moore states that he will not say anything bad about anyone he has worked with and will not dish dirt, he also states that everything he has described is true and that this is how it happened. Which I think is fair enough as the ground rules are being laid out to start with.
You also get a glimpse of Moore's personal life, which in interviews has been something that is always off the radar. The joy that he experienced at the birth of his children was a passionate piece to read. Understanding that he had to provide for them as well and what he did with regards to taking roles and how he had to prepare for them. One nugget is his first meeting with Michael Caine while walking down Piccadilly as you have a mental picture painted of two actors who meet by chance and become strong lifetime friends. Ironically you have the man who went on to be James Bond and the man who went on to become Harry Palmer! As with all the other stories, this is told in a very detailed manner that after reading makes you actually think that you were there.
I think this is fair as the stories that are told in the book only play a small part in a persons life and absorb to become a much bigger picture altogether. For example I knew that Roger Moore was a partner in Tribune Productions but was totally unaware that Moore produced a clothing line based on what he wore playing Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders. One thing I will say is that the stories Moore tells about Tony Curtis are priceless, and from a reader's point of view are something that you just couldn't make up. In fact Curtis played a vital part in Moore's life as he made Roger, by means of shock treatment, realise what smoking could actually do to a person, this story alone makes good reading and is definitely something that applies today.
The actor has always taken a fair amount of flak over his acting abilities, but the good thing is that in this book he takes them... and agrees with them totally! You get the impression that the man knows his limits and he knows what he cannot do. Obviously the stand out points are when Moore took the roles of Simon Templar and then 007, however it is also his role within Unicef that now plays an important part of his life and something that has meant that if Moore is offered a role then a part comes his way and that's that.
If you step back and look at the bigger picture you will see a man who has had a very good life in what has been achieved, yes I am a little jealous in a number of ways as his job has taken around the world on location and he has kissed a number of the worlds most beautiful women for a role, for me this showed me how much the person has grown and evolved to be the person he is today.
There are also a number of photos in the book as well, and these are printed on glossy paper and cover all of Moore's life from Moore's parents to his Unicef work. By the end of the book, you get the picture that Moore always looks on the bright side of life whenever and whatever the situation and this is captured in the storytelling, a good example - Jimmy the Monkey when he lived at Stockwell.
Overall the book is written in such a beautiful and honest manner that you can't help but be aware of the transition and hard work the man has put in to become who he is. The stories of his childhood are moving to say the least and on some occasions bought a tear to my eye with what I was reading about on others I was laughing out loud due to the nature of events. Personally it is rare to see a biography with this amount of detail, whether it is positive or negative in nature, the standard film star biography tends to steer towards the fact that "aren't I great" or "look what I am" and in this one that approach hasn't even been suggested at all, which is refreshing and original.
This is the first time that Roger Moore has ever done anything like this, and at the age of 80 I think he has left the timing to when he has the opportunity to say I have lived and I want to tell people about me and who I am in a manner that is honest, extremely entertaining and in places quite emotional. Bottom line is that this is essential reading!