Roger Moore, known best for his role as James Bond, almost died when he was only 5 years old and suffered a slew of health problems throughout his life. Despite that, he beat prostate cancer and lived to age 89.
REELZ is looking into his life and death on the newest episode of “Autopsy: The Last Hours of…” It airs at 8 p.m. Eastern time Sunday, June 27, 2021 during a marathon of the show.
Here’s what you need to know:
Moore Died After a ‘Short But Brave Battle With Cancer’ in 2017 at Age 89
Moore’s family announced his death at age 89 saying he died after a “short but brave battle with cancer,” Sky News reported May 23, 2017. But it was far from his first, or his only battle. He had been diagnosed with three types of cancer in his lifetime, REELZ reported, and almost died from pneumonia as a young boy.
Perhaps it was, in part, his health problems that led to his self-deprecating take on Bond. REELZ said his father taught him not to expect his fame to last. But his role as Bond came later in life.
“It was so important to him having been Bond. Bond brought him back to being a movie star again,” fellow actor and friend Sir Michael Caine said on the REELZ episode. “Not only a movie star, but one of the biggest movie stars in the world.”
His children, Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian, wrote a touching tribute to their father in the announcement of his passing. You can read the full statement below:
“The love with which he was surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified in words alone,” the statement from his children said.
Moore Kept His Health Problems Quiet, But Wrote About Them in His Memoir
Moore often kept his health problems to himself, his friends said on the REELZ episode. James Bond film director John Glen said actors “tend to keep these things quiet.”
“They don’t want it to be known you’re ill or you’ll never get another job,” Glen said on the REELZ show. “So it’s kind of a defensive thing.”
Moore did, however, open up about his health problems in his book, My Word Is Bond: The Autobiography.
“Illness played a great – and unwelcome – role in my early life,” he wrote.
When he was only 5, he contracted a case of double bronchial pneumonia so severe that a doctor decided he should be cared for at home instead of in the hospital, Moore wrote. When his sickness reached its height, his doctor told Moore’s dad he would be back in the morning with a death certificate.
His health problems were pervasive throughout his life, he wrote. In 1993, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He wrote about receiving the news from his doctor, and making a joke in response.
“Strangely, I started to feel so sorry for him, as he had bad news to impart and clearly did not know how to start to tell me,” he writes. “His eyes began to well up with tears and I could only make a joke, saying something fatuous.”
His health troubles continued following the publication of his book in 2009. In 2013, he suffered another severe case of pneumonia and had to relearn how to walk, according to Express, and he lost much of his hair.
“It took them quite a while to discover the right antibiotic,” he told the news outlet. “I had so many antibiotics pumped into me and was bedbound, and it ended up I had to be taught to walk, literally. And also my hair started to fall out rapidly, which it has done ever since.”
The same year, he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which meant he had to give up alcohol, he told The Daily Mail.
“I make a very good dry martini but I’m not allowed to drink them any more,” Moore told The Daily Mail at the time. “No more sugar, no alcohol. I get to taste the wine and I can make a little sip last an hour. I enjoy it much more. I remember a lot more of what happened.”
Following in step with his previous desires to keep his health concerns private, he did not make a public announcement he had been diagnosed with liver cancer, REELZ reported.
“He had suffered years of ill health and fought three different types of cancer but had somehow made it to the age of 89,” REELZ wrote. “Maybe there had been more 007 in Sir Roger Moore than he had let on.”
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