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Roger Moore, of James Bond and The Saint, Dead at 89

Moore was the longest-serving James Bond

Liam Mathews

Roger Moore, the dashing British actor best known for his tenure in the James Bond film series, has died. Varietyreports that Moore passed on Tuesday in Switzerland at age 89.

Moore played the iconic British spy James Bond in six movies from 1973-1985, the longest tenure of any Bond. Taking on the 007 mantle from George Lazenby, who did one movie after Sean Connery, Moore starred in Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill.

He started his career in the '40s and landed his first lead role in 1956 on the ITV series Ivanhoe, playing Sir Winfred. He also starred on the ABC western The Alaskans and briefly replaced James Garner on Maverick.

He became a superstar with The Saint, an ITV series that became so popular in syndication in America that it joined NBC's primetime schedule from 1967-1969. He played Simon Templar, a debonair international thief who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Most of Templar's wardrobe was Moore's own. That cosmopolitan sensibility led directly to landing the role of James Bond.

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Later in his career, he did lots of voice work and roles that sent up his Bond-like identity onscreen and off.

Moore was born in Stockwell, South London on October 14, 1927. He briefly trained at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, but didn't graduate. He was conscripted into military service after World War II. He rose to the rank of captain and commanded a small depot in West Germany. He returned to England and had his first television appearance in 1949, in the TV movie The Governess.

Moore was made a Knight Commander of the British Empire in recognition of his charity work with UNICEF in 2003, though he lived in Switzerland after 1978 to avoid paying taxes in Great Britain.

Moore was married four times -- first to his RADA classmate Doorn Van Steyn, then to singer Dorothy Squires from 1954 to 1961, then to Italian actress Luisa Mattioli from 1969 to 1993 (though they were together since 1961) and finally to Danish-Swedish socialite Kristina "Kiki" Tholstrup. He is survived by Tholstrup and three children from his relationship with Mattioloi -- his daughter, actress Deborah Moore; and two sons, Geoffrey Moore, an actor, and Christian Moore, a film producer.