He was the suave spy who could seduce women with little more than a shaken martini and the utterance of his name: “Bond, James Bond.”
But Roger Moore, the actor who deftly embodied the iconic character for years, said he never felt as confident as his alter ego when it came to romancing members of the opposite sex.
“I got lucky occasionally,” he added with a twinkle. “But with a lack of confidence.”
Moore, who was married four times, also said concerns about his weight left him feeling insecure as a child, even if he fondly recalled growing up as an only child in London with a police officer father and stay-at-home mother.
“I was probably a little bit overweight as a child, being passionate about baked beans on toast and Cadbury’s milk chocolate when I could get it. And I remember my father sort of pulling the belt of my blue schoolboy’s raincoat rather tight when we were going out and saying, ‘You are like a sack of bloody potatoes, tied up and ugly in the middle’. I think the insecurity probably came from that,” he recalled.
His self-doubt continued into adolescence — until he discovered a way to gain confidence.
“In my teens I was very insecure,” he told the Telegraph. “And so I invented Roger Moore. I was possibly shy. I don’t know why some people are shy and some aren’t. Some people blush very easily.”
Moore also said that unlike his Bond character, “I’m a bit cowardly” and was never involved in any fights.
“I’m not argumentative, I loathe tension. I would rather walk away than become involved in a shouting match,” he said, admitting that his former wives would “absolutely” agree that he hated confrontation.
Displaying that his wit remained well intact even at 89, Moore, who wed fourth wife Kristina Tholstrup in 2002, also joked that he had few pearls of wisdom to offer about marriage.
“Well, I don’t think I learnt too much, otherwise I wouldn’t have been married four times,” he says. “What I have learnt, I always jokingly say, is that you should have the last word, which is, ‘Yes, dear.’ ”
Moore’s aversion to confrontation extended into his Bond work as he recalled a time that he was uncomfortable when he was directed to get physical with a female costar.
“I remember Guy Hamilton wanting me to be tougher with Maud Adams in The Man with the Golden Gun where I was trying to get information from her and I start twisting her arm, which I didn’t like doing particularly, and Guy said, ‘You’ve got to do it and she’s going to say, you’re hurting my arm, and you’ve got to say, I’ll break it, and mean it.’ So I bent it for those brief few moments,” he said.
The star also told the outlet he never quite accepted his iconic character’s spy status — and joked that he would have played him much differently in recent years.
“Very differently. I’d be doing it in a wheelchair,” he quipped. “I wouldn’t have changed it from the way I played it. I played it slightly tongue-in-cheek because I never quite believed that James Bond was a spy because everybody knew him, they all knew what he drank. He’d walk into a bar and it would always be, ‘Ah, Commander Bond, martini, shaken not stirred.’ Spies are faceless people.”