Book review: Last Man Standing by Roger Moore

He may be 86 years old now but Sir Roger Moore has lost none of the natural exuberance and debonair charm that made him one of Hollywood’s favourite 007 heroes.
Last Man Standing by Roger MooreLast Man Standing by Roger Moore
Last Man Standing by Roger Moore

Age and various infirmities have not wearied the risqué humour of the big and small screen’s irrepressible star, and he’s back to regale us with his best and funniest anecdotes from the caustic cauldron that is Tinseltown.

From revealing stories about the movie icon Grace Kelly’s love of saucy limericks to the terrible temper tantrums of Burt Lancaster, Moore is in seventh heaven as he opens up a can of Hollywood worms.

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But this is not a back-stabbing vial of venom… more a hilarious and warm-hearted trip down memory lane filled with laugh-out-loud tales, backstage shenanigans and eye-opening truths about life with the showbusiness jet set.

A well-known prankster, joker and raconteur, Moore views his life and career through a fun-filled prism which is both infectious and beguilingly honest.

From his early television years playing action heroes Ivanhoe, Simon Templar in The Saint and Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders to Pinewood Studios in London and then on to the heady heights of seven James Bond films, Moore worked alongside some of the industry’s biggest names.

Naturally, the sweet-talking Sir Roger has a fund of raunchy stories about lively – and feisty – leading ladies like Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Joan Collins and the straight-talking Zsa Zsa Gabor.

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One of the biggest stars in Hollywood when Moore arrived there was the beautiful Ava Gardner. She was signed up by MGM’s Louis B.Mayer who reportedly said after viewing her screen test: ‘She can’t act. She can’t talk. She’s terrific!’

Well known as a genuine ‘nice guy,’ Moore lifts the lid on seven decades in the movie business, including his experiences with the notorious Rat Pack and outrageous tales from his own life and a host of stars like Tony Curtis, Sean Connery, Michael Caine, David Niven, Frank Sinatra and Peter Sellers.

This fully illustrated and thoroughly entertaining book is Moore at his endearing best… full of joie de vivre, reassuringly convivial and irreverently witty.

Frank Sinatra, he reveals, would often say to his pals ‘Who’s going to be left to turn the lights off?’

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Sir Roger – and his army of worshipful fans – sincerely hope it will be him!

(Michael O’Mara, hardback, £20)