Sir Roger Moore, who became an international star as the third actor to officially play James Bond, has died at age 89.
Moore's family confirmed the news on Twitter. "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," the statement read. "The love with which he was surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified in words alone."
Sir Paul McCartney said that he felt "lucky" to work with the late actor on the 1973 Bond film Live and Let Die. "Roger was a great man and of course a great James Bond ... He had a heart of gold, a great sense of humour and will be missed by the many people who loved him."
Moore was born in 1927, and he became famous on television, playing the lead in action series like Ivanhoe and a western titled Maverick. It was his role in The Saint, a series that ran for multiple seasons in the 1960s, that made him a star. The actor played Simon Templar, a modern Robin Hood-like figure who faced off with an assortment of evil characters over 118 episodes.
With the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated. pic.twitter.com/6dhiA6dnVg— Sir Roger Moore (@sirrogermoore) May 23, 2017
Moore joined the James Bond franchise for 1973's Live and Let Die, and would portray the suave British spy for six more films, retiring from the role after the release of A View to a Kill in 1985. Though he held the record for having anchored the Bond franchise the longest, Moore always viewed his accomplishments modestly. In a book he wrote about the experience, Bond on Bond: Reflections on 50 Years of James Bond Movies, he credited his predecessor, Sean Connery, with making Agent 007 "an instantly recognizable character the world over – he was rough, tough, mean, and witty."
He was similarly self-deprecating during an interview with Maxim in 2014. "Sean looks as though he wants to kill the villain," Moore said. "Daniel [Craig] you know is going to kill the villain, whereas I look as if I want to hug them, or bore them to death."
Moore was one of the funniest Bonds, and he claimed the role was innately comedic. "You can't be a real spy and have everybody in the world know who you are and what your drink is," Moore told The New Yorker in 2012. "That's just hysterically funny."
During his tenure as Bond, Moore also starred in other action films – The Wild Geese, North Sea Hijack — and made a cameo as Inspector Clouseau in Curse of the Pink Panther. After leaving the Bond series, his acting became more infrequent, but he still appeared on screen occasionally, trying his hand at romantic comedy in Bed & Breakfast and returning to thrillers for Jean-
In addition to Bond on Bond, Moore wrote two other volumes about his experience as the world's most famous spy: Roger Moore's Own Account of Filming Live and Let Die and My Word Is My Bond. "Being eternally known as Bond has no downside," he explained to The Guardian in 2014. "People often call me 'Mr Bond' when we're out and I don't mind a bit. Why would I?"
Moore became a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF in 1991, and his charity work eventually earned him a knighthood in 2003. "The knighthood for my humanitarian work meant more than if it had been for my acting," Moore told The Guardian. "I feel very privileged."
"We know our love and admiration will be magnified many times over, across the world, by the people who knew him for his films, his television shows and his passionate work for UNICEF which he considered to be his greatest achievement," Moore's family wrote. "Thank you Pops for being you, and for being so very special to so many people."