Saturday, August 14, 2021

Just Like the Saint! - Roger Moore Off Screen

He's six foot two, fair-haired, and fabulously handsome. He's one of the world's best-dressed men and he's tough. He drives a racy, 100 mile-an-hour-plus sports car and travels internationally. He's outside the law, but he always gets his man - and his girl. He's The Saint. The man who plays him on the TV screen is of course Roger Moore. And all the things The Saint is you can say Roger Moore is - well practically all the things. 

Roger, born in London, travels the world. He tends to regard Rome as his home. But once it was California that was home to him. 

In his early days, Roger mainly played French parts and, thorough in everything he does, he went to France to learn the language and customs. He now speaks perfect French, German, and Italian - as does The Saint, who adds Portuguese and Russian to his list of languages! 

The Saint, created by Leslie Charteris 30 years ago, has always been a favourite with Roger Moore. 

"I feel I've known him, admired him, and understood him all my life," he says. Before he landed the role, he was so keen to play the part that he tried to buy the TV rights of The Saint books - all 110 of them! 

Roger began acting when he was 16. His first part after training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art was as a gendarme. He says: "I was stuck under a gendarme's hat and my parents who came to see the show didn't recognize me!"

After that, nearly all his roles were in costume. In repertory it was all tennis shorts and big brass hats. In Hollywood - and films - he wore "long wigs, tin armour, more helmets, tropical gear, long hair and beards, togas, more armour and army rig."

On TV there was the Ivanhoe series with chain mail and lots of lusty sword-play; The Alaskans series which called for parkas and furs; and the Maverick series in which he wore the fancy and elegant suitings of Beau. 

Now the clothes Roger needs for his part as Simon Templar, the Saint, he supplies from his own extensive and expensive wardrobe. "It's nice to know the socks I choose in the morning can stay on all day," he says. 

Roger is the tenth actor to play The Saint, though the first on TV. The other nine were Louis Hayward, George Sanders, Hugh Sinclair, Felix Marten - in French films only, Edgar Varrier - on American radio, Tom Conway, Vincent Price, Brian Aherne and Barry Sullivan. 

Looking back on his career so far, Roger Moore says, "I don't think I've really done anything I can be proud of. The worst part in the world is a hero. In reality, heroes are highly improbable - they always win. I think I would enjoy acting more if I played villains. They are more meaty roles, even if they are often smaller. And they are much nearer life as it really is."

Roger has plans to start a company for independent film productions. "The days of the big studios are numbered," he says. "TV has taken over but there is still scope for good films. I'd like to make some."

As The Saint, Roger tries to show that everyone - including Simon Templar - is human. "I try to be as real and honest as possible," he says. "That is why The Saint TV series has changed from the normal cops-and-robbers style of thing. I am trying to show a man who though almost a superman at times is very much a human being in reality."

However, for the moment, the role of the Saint - the man with all the time in the world on his hands- keeps Roger Moore pretty busy. He doesn't even get much chance for a social life. 

Still, Roger - son of a London policeman - seems to get a mighty big kick out of whatever he's doing, wherever he happens to be. 

Just like The Saint, in fact! 

This article originally appeared in STAR T.V. and Film Annual 1967 published by Odhams Books Ltd. Movie Magazine Articles, another one of our ongoing series, feature articles like this reprinted for our reader's entertainment. Click here to find more posts in this series!

Note: The article neglected to point out that Roger also had a hand in directing many of The Saint episodes. And it is interesting that Roger Moore thought he had not done any roles that he could be proud of, for after The Saint his career really took off and he had some smashing good parts. 


  1. Thanks for sharing this most enjoyable piece on the appealing star.

  2. Aww, this is so fun! I've only watched a handful of eps of this version of The Saint, but I thoroughly enjoyed them and would like to see more :-)