Interview: Sammy Jones speaks with Sir Roger Moore
The name is Moore, Roger Moore, and next month the legendary British actor will be dropping into Milton Keynes Theatre as part of a unique 10-date tour of venues.
But this time when he steps out on stage, he won’t be acting: An Evening with Sir Roger Moore is just that, an opportunity to listen to the man share stories and anecdotes from a life extraordinary.
“I think it’s good to get around the country, and it’s good to meet people,” Sir Roger tells me, when I call him at home in Monaco.
“I have been on the screen and on television all my life practically, and you never get to meet many people except at the studio, so it’s rather nice to travel around – and I enjoy the conversation.”
The conversation will flow with Gareth Owen, Roger’s biographer and the man who runs his London office.
“...he is very important because I might forget things,” Roger imparts, and then pauses, “I might forget everything!” he says with comic timing.
Certainly Roger has a wealth of living from which to draw on – the rise and rise of the London born son of a policeman and a housewife, who went on to became a Knight of the British Empire.
Along the way, Roger has enjoyed the sort of acting career that most aspiring stage-steppers dare not even dream of –but most notably of course, for his roles as Simon Templar in The Saint, and as James Bond in seven of the cinematic blockbusters.
His personal life has been as colourful as his acting career has been fruitful, with three failed marriages to his name, although he has been happily married to stunning Kristina Tholstrop for more than a decade.
They are a wonderfully classy couple that the camera lens loves.
With audience members invited to pose questions during the second part of his theatre visit, is Sir Roger not a little bit worried about what might be asked of him?
“I don’t mind, no...nothing worries me – the worse the question, the better the answer!” he quips.
Roger’s acting days are largely behind him now, but he hasn’t retired: “Not retired, the phone just stops ringing,” he says.
“Well, the parts going around aren’t that good,” he explains, and his dream role these days would be something with “not too much dialogue and lots of time off...”
The Invisible Man is mentioned.
Now 85 years young, he remains a fantastic supporter of charity – and a passionate Ambassador for Unicef.
“Our job is fundraising and spreading information. For example, at the moment I have to study up on the situation in Syria, because in a couple of weeks I am doing a fundraiser – it’s not enough to know just what you see on the news. You have to know exactly what the situation is.”
He is also a thorn in the side of upmarket store Fortnum & Mason for selling Foie Gras.
The vile process of force-feeding terrified birds an enormous amount of food every day leaves them with internal haemorrhaging, infections and a brain disease caused when their livers fail.
Selfridges and Harvey Nichols have both stopped selling the ‘produce’, but not Fortnum & Mason. Will you ever leave the store alone?
“When they stop selling Foie Gras,” he answers, quietly and resolutely.
Do you think that day will come?
“We live in hope, and there is no point in keeping on trying unless you think that eventually you are going to win.”
In-between championing the causes close to his heart, and doing battle with those he chooses to pick well thought out fights with, Sir Roger spends his days being hen-pecked.
“I sit around answering mail, get nagged by my wife for sitting in front of my computer...” he pauses again; “My wife is now waving a dagger in front of me, saying if I don’t say nice things....she is wonderful,” he says, rescuing the moment.
She is also responsible for Roger’s young outlook, that charming Bond smile and that eyebrow, which still thrive.
“It’s all her fault,” he says warmly, “A good wife.”
Roger’s one piece of advice he would impart to anyone – that we should save our money –becomes redundant when I ask him to give us a plug for his forthcoming show: “Don’t save your money,” he laughs, suggesting instead that you all go and get your tickets.
“...and if you like the show tell your friends. If you don’t?
“Stay very quiet!”
An Evening with Sir Roger Moore, MK Theatre,
Wednesday, November 13, 2013.
To book call 0844 871 7652.