Following the 89-year-old actor’s death last week, Brosnan penned an emotional essay for Variety, published on Tuesday, in which he opens up about Moore’s impact on his own life and career, calling the star his “first real hero.”
“Only on reflection do I see how much of an influence Roger Moore had on me as a young Irish immigrant lad from the banks of the River Boyne,” Brosnan wrote. “I guess the combination of Bond and The Saint ignited a flame for fame in my heart of innocent wonder. I wanted to be up there. Roger as the Saint made me believe in his world. And before I knew it, the man who was the Saint transformed into James Bond, an even greater hero to me as a boy.”
Moore starred as anti-hero Simon Templar in the celebrated UK TV series The Saint from 1962 to 1969. The actor would go on to star as 007 in the 1973 film, Live and Let Die, taking over the role from George Lazenby.
Brosnan’s own career followed a similar path. The Irish thespian starred as suave super spy Remington Steele in the popular TV series of the same name from 1982 to 1987 before going on to take over the role of Bond from actor Timothy Dalton in 1995’s acclaimed GoldenEye.
“Having by now fully immersed myself in the magic of movies, and with my appetite for more informed and character-driven work in films, I guess I slowly dreamt of being an actor as I watched their work, which never really seemed like work to me,” Brosnan continued. “Of course, I was only 12 years old. Only now after 40 years as an actor do I know the hard road it takes to be one. It’s only now, after all these years, that I know he was a hero.”
Brosnan also praised Moore’s tenure as the iconic secret agent, explaining, “He reigned over seven movies as James Bond with exceptional skill and comic timing laced with a stiletto vengeance. He knew his comedy, he knew who he was and he played onstage and off with an easy grace and charm.”
According to Brosnan, Moore is the only actor he’s ever asked for an autograph, back when he was 12 years old.
“My mom and dad had taken me to Battersea Park. I lined up by the Ferris wheel and waited my turn to get his autograph. I wanted to be somebody like him. Maybe that’s why I waited,” he recounted. “Little did I know my time would come to someday enter onto the stage as 007.”
In 1980, Brosnan’s and his late wife, Cassandra Harris, were struggling as working actors trying to make money to raise their children and keep a roof over their heads, which is when “Roger and his Bond came to save the day,” he recalled.
Harris got an audition for the Bond film For Your Eyes Only, and was cast as Bond girl Lisl von Schlaf, which forever changed the course of Brosnan’s life.
“By the time I came to stand on the stage as Bond, the performances of Sean Connery and Roger Moore were difficult to shake from my DNA. Roger came down to set one day on GoldenEye and wished me well. I was still in awe of the man,” Brosnan wrote. “Last time I saw him was at the Albert Hall for a tribute to [producer] Cubby Broccoli. What more can one ask for? I am so proud to have known the kindness and humanity of Sir Roger Moore.”
Moore died in Switzerland on May 23, after a brief battle with cancer. He was 89. During his time as Bond, the celebrated actor starred in seven of the iconic spy’s wildest adventures in Live and Let Die, The Man With the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy and A View to a Kill.
Check out the video below for a look at Moore’s storied life and legacy.