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James Bond actor dead at 89

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Roger Moore, the suavely insouciant star of seven James Bond films, has died in Switzerland. He was 89.

The British actor died Tuesday after a short battle with cancer, according to a family statement posted on Moore's official Twitter account.

"We know our own love and admiration will be magnified many times over, across the world, by people who knew him for his films, his television shows and his passionate work for UNICEF, which he considered to be his greatest achievement," the statement said.

File – In this Sunday, Nov. 17, 1996 file photo, three of the actors who played James Bond, Timothy Dalton left, Roger Moore, center, and Pierce Brosnan, at a London cinema to celebrate the life of Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli, the American film producer behind seventeen Bond movies. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

Moore's relaxed style and sense of whimsy, which relied heavily on the arched eyebrow, seemed a commentary on the essential ridiculousness of the Bond films, in which the handsome British secret agent was as adept at mixing martinis, bedding beautiful women and ordering gourmet meals as he was at disposing of super-villains trying to take over the world.

"To me, the Bond situations are so ridiculous, so outrageous," he once said. "I mean, this man is supposed to be a spy and yet, everybody knows he's a spy. Every bartender in the world offers him martinis that are shaken, not stirred. What kind of serious spy is recognized everywhere he goes? It's outrageous. So you have to treat the humor outrageously as well."

While he never eclipsed Sean Connery in the public's eye as the definitive James Bond, Moore did play the role of secret agent 007 in just as many films as Connery did, and he managed to do so while "finding a joke in every situation," according to film critic Rex Reed.

The actor, who came to the role in 1973 after Connery tired of it, had already enjoyed a long career in films and television, albeit with mixed success.

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