There’s a new book out from Gareth Owen, called “Raising an Eyebrow: My Life with Sir Roger Moore”, about his time with Roger Moore, when he was his executive assistant and also co-writer of several of Moore’s books. It’s a hardcover and not that expensive. I ordered this week one at Amazon.
Oh my. This will be good.
Gareth wrote an amazing piece immediately following the passing of Sir Roger.
To be ordered.
Well, Actually ordered.
I’ve ordered it too. This is the book I want to read: an insight into the real man. Should be sensational.
Waiting for my copy. Sir Roger lives on!
Owen wrote a preview of his book for the Mail, which included the following anecdote:
“I was not long into my job when, as part of the celebrations around 2002’s Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan’s final outing in the role, former Bonds were invited to be presented to the Queen at the royal premiere in Leicester Square. The retired 007s subsequently took the stage, and the audience erupted when Roger walked on, awarding him a much bigger ovation than Brosnan received.
Afterwards, I asked what Roger thought of the new film. He was diplomatically evasive. I pointed out that he’d got more applause than Pierce. ‘Rightly ****ing so,’ he replied, with a raised eyebrow.”
Got my copy rigth now from the postman. That’s quick! It looks great with in the middle a photo section with photo’s from Owen’s own collection, together with Moore, Kiel, Llewelyn and ofcourse a lot of photo’s of Roger.
Ofcourse I haven’t got the time to read it, but it looks like a very nice read!
Well, to be sure this was a different sort of book on the Great Man.
After short and introductory paragraphs delineating interests, education and a path towards and into Pinewood, Gareth was invited into Sir Roger Moore’s life in 2001 by Roger’s former PA, Doris Spriggs. And it is from this date that one is invited in to look at how the lives of The Great Man and PA ‘worked’.
It very quickly became clear to me that this was no ordinary job. The idea, or perhaps misconception, about a PA is a Monday to Friday, 8am to maybe 6pm role. Not so here. As Gareth highlighted his involvement with Roger’s life, his family and his ongoing work, responsibilities and opportunities included office work, bookings, call fielding, PR and events, friend, confidante, employee, cook, author, interviewee for both books and stage and every other role under the sun….
The above mentioned speed of clarity about the job, derived from me asking questions of myself in respect of all the already many, but still increasing number of fine lines that one had to tread to make the above work. It must have needed a very special person to not overstep boundaries, cross lines, become too professional or become too familiar. For my part, as self-aware as I might deem myself to be, with someone as friendly, generous, trusting and inviting of humour as Roger Moore, I did wonder how I might have stood or fallen in this role. Gareth was as much a fan of the Great Man as I am… Potential pitfalls must have abounded.
More so at the beginning of the book, it was written in an almost chatty vibe. As thoughts came to mind, they were committed to page leading to a sentence beginning and almost immediately separated by a comma, a dash, a bracket, some tangential thought is considered at length before returning to the initial thought. Distractingly, eyes had to then scroll back up the page to remember how the sentence and prior thought had been introduced.
This very minor niggle aside, as the subject matter became ever more serious, so too did the prose.
I said earlier that this was a different sort of book. This was due mainly to the fact that the content concentrated on the twilight years of a nonetheless still very active man, fully plugged into Life but however where health issues began to play an every-month part of Life. While one marvelled at his strength, while one giggled over his sense of humour, there was an over-bearing feeling that we were imminently going to touch on some very real issues. And so it came to be, as Life began to exert its presence on the form, it was all very beautifully written and tastefully related. For Gareth, this must have been beyond heart-breaking and required levels of strength and sensitivity beyond the normal requirements of a non-family member.
I didn’t think there were ever going to be new revelations, both Sir Roger and Gavin spoke from the same mind-set about such. That said, I personally was not aware of the Aspects of Love departure. If correctly understood, this was a kick in the teeth that was not deserved.
There was also a nice aspect to the travels for his stage shows. I hail from the Midlands and one such pub that the Moore Show stopped at for simple food with friendly publicans is one that I can fully endorse as a place with superb examples of both. Breedon-on-the-Hill’s The Three Horse Shoes. Having eaten there many a time, it was on one occasion around 2017 that I noticed a little printed photograph of Moore with publican. Conversation ensuing, so friendly were they with he that they were invited to and attended the Pinewood memorial. Such was the scope and breadth of the ever developing friendships.
I remember in May 2017, I was reading some news pages on the internet during a lull at work. I came across an article iterating Moore’s nervousness with women when-he-was-alive…! ‘Some stupid bugger has pushed the wrong button on an article here’, I thought. ‘Someone will be embarrassed…’
I then clicked across a few other news sites where similar articles were written. Even then I thought, ‘There’s stupidity right across the horizon today…!’ The fact is, Moore’s ever delightful presence and his eternal good humour lead me to think this man was going to live Forever. And then he wasn’t.
Gareth mentions he was a fan of the man. I am too. I am a fan of the fictional characters Bond and the Saint. Film first for the Bond, Literary first for the Saint. That Moore crossed both was tip top. But why the interest in the actor? To clarify I hold no real interest in any of the other Bond or Saint actors; my interest is limited to the fictional side only.
I was a useless 17 year old in the summer of 1983. I was listening to a radio station that had Roger Moore as a guest promoting Octopussy. He was delighted and surprised that the presenter was wearing fishnet stockings.
‘I didn’t think you could now be surprised?’
‘Ohh, I’m always ready to be surprised.’ Roger replied in chocolate undertones.
Two things were later said during the hour show, and it is pretty much these statements that date stamped the beginning of the interest in the Man, and not just the actor.
On leaving the UK for Switzerland due to the tax regime, he said that he had paid his taxes on his earnings, he was encouraged to save money and paid taxes on that too, and that ‘if one was stupid enough to die, one had to pay taxes on inheritance as well.’ I liked the line, ‘…stupid enough to die.’ Made sense. Very funny.
On his good humour, he was asked why he was always so nice and so upbeat. He said, ‘I always believe in being good to people on your way up, because you’re sure going to meet them again on your way down.’
And that, pretty much sealed it for me as someone to whom attention should eternally be paid.
As for Gareth Owen, I wonder what becomes of him now? This was evidently the job of a lifetime and by all accounts, he has done it bloody well. I wish him all the success for the future.