You Only Live Once.
A couple of days ago, Roger Moore, the actor who played James Bond in the largest number of films, passed away.
James Bond is no longer with us, in a world that maybe needs him more than ever. I’m not talking about the secret agent exploits that made Moore famous…I’m talking about what he did with that fame. After his last Bond film in ’85, her was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1991, Moore was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003 for “services to charity”.
Moore’s friend Audrey Hepburn had impressed him with her work for UNICEF, and consequently he became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1991. He was the voice of Father Christmas or ‘Santa’ in the 2004 UNICEF cartoon “The Fly Who Loved Me.” Moore was involved in the production of a video for PETA that protests against the production and wholesale of foie gras. Moore narrates the video. His assistance in this situation, and being a strong spokesman against foie gras, led to the department store Selfridges agreeing to remove foie gras from their shelves. That’s just a bit of what he did, but for a large portion of his life, he was pretty dedicated to helping kids, and making the general level of suffering less than it actually is.
Even the foie gras thing. That was really all about quality of life, and being a humanitarian.
Let’s be clear about how important that work was, and how important it was to him. On March 9, 1999, Moore was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and later promoted to Knight Commander of the same Order on June 14 2003. The citation on the knighthood was completely for Moore’s charity work, which dominated his public life for more than a decade. Moore said that the citation “meant far more to me than if I had got it for acting… I was proud because I received it on behalf of UNICEF as a whole and for all it has achieved over the years”.
That’s a pretty huge deal. If more people lived like that, this would be a better world to live in. He might not have had powers or gadgets, but Roger Moore was a real superhero.
With that said…I also feel like this is a world that could use James Bond, maybe more than ever. We have a president who gives security briefing data to foreign powers. Election tampering. Obstruction of justice with the FBI. Random terror acts. These are the kinds of things that at least in a fictional world, you call James Bond for.
And that….that’s why today’s art is what it is. I thought about trying to illustrate Roger Moore…but he’s done his part. He’s given the whole thing that he can give to us. Instead, it is actually up to us to carry on that work, as it were. To take down bad guys when we see them…no matter how big or small. To do our best to stand up for the little guys, wherever they might be. To be bigger and better than the outline provided for us, to transcend expectation and add good to the world around us.
That’s the lesson of Roger Moore.
I’m bummed that another one of my heroes has left us. There aren’t enough good guys left in the real world.