When it comes to James Bonds, the franchise has been going so long now that you can pretty much take your pick in terms of style and stance.
Do you prefer the swarthy hirsute Scottish burr of the Sean Connery Bond? The slightly camp tongue-in-cheek self-mockery of Roger Moore? The handsome vapidity of Pierce Brosnan? Or maybe the troubled yet craggy vulnerability of Daniel Craig?
For me, it’ll always be the Moore Bond, for the simple matter that he knew how to pick up a joke and run with it. A colleague of mine at the South China Morning Post interviewed him for a profile piece some five years ago and took him to task for, famously, not performing his own stunts.
“Well I kissed Grace Jones,” he quipped “That was a stunt.”
The latest story to emerge from the annals of Roger Mooreanalia comes from Marc Haynes from London who related the heart-warming story of how saw Roger Moore at an airport as a child but was left confused, crestfallen and, frankly, disappointed that the autograph was not signed by James Bond.
In a post to Facebook, Marc Haynes said that he was about seven years old in 1983 when he and his grandfather were waiting for a plane at the airport in Nice, France.
Young Marc told his grandfather he had just seen James Bond and asked if they could get his autograph.
The grandfather apparently had no idea who the actor was, but being a dutiful grandfather, went over and asked. Moore happily signed the boarding pass; the boy, however, thought there had been a mistake because the autograph didn’t say James Bond, but Roger Moore.
The grandfather went back and explained the situation and Moore then explained to the boy that he had to sign his name as Roger Moore because otherwise: “Blofeld (the infamous chrome-domed Bond villain always depicted stroking a Persian) might find out I was here.”
Naturally, the boy was thrilled to be part of the secret life of James Bond and immediately understood that he couldn’t be seen to blow 007’s cover.
As always with a Roger Moore tale, there’s was a hilarious kicker further down the track.
Many years later the now-adult Marc Haynes was working as a scriptwriter for a UNICEF campaign that Roger Moore was a part of. Haynes told Moore the story of their previous meeting in 1983 and, while Moore claimed he didn’t remember the encounter, they both reportedly had a good laugh over it.
Later Moore decided to give the joke legs.
“And then he did something so brilliant,” Haynes explained. “After the filming, he walked past me in the corridor, heading out to his car – but as he got level, he paused, looked both ways, raised an eyebrow and in a hushed voice said, ‘Of course I remember our meeting in Nice. But I didn’t say anything in there, because those cameramen – any one of them could be working for Blofeld.’
“I was as delighted at 30 as I had been at seven. What a man. What a tremendous man.”