I never thought of Roger Moore as the ‘best’ James Bond. I generally consider him (because of course we must inevitably rank our favorite portrayals of such an figure) as the fourth best, behind Connery, Craig and Brosnan in that order. I think he was, however, the absolutely perfect Bond, James Bond, for the era during which the producers chose to make the films self-caricatures with results ranging from satisfying tongue in cheek panache to embarrassing forays into silliness.
Through everything the films were and not during Sir Roger Moore’s long presence as 007, Moore himself remained pitch perfect within the tongue in cheek (and sometimes protruding through it) style of those works. He made it possible to thoroughly enjoy the movies and the popcorn no matter how untrue to Fleming’s original creation they at times became. He made them fun and palatable even for purists like me. I liked his work. He proved equally comfortable with both the Walther PPK, the quip, and the just barely (and necessary) awareness that it was all somewhat ridiculous, but great fun.
By all accounts I’ve heard, he was also a very nice man, thoroughly aware of the absurdity of the money he had fallen into with the role, appreciative of it, and refusing to take any it too seriously. He was, in a word, a gentleman. I’m not generally one who aspires to meet this or that celebrity; however I think I would have enjoyed a dinner and conversation with Roger Moore.
If you have not seen any of Roger Moore’s earlier jaunts as Simon Templar (The Saint) on BBC television, you might enjoy taking a look at those. The were what earned him the opportunity to play Bond. And of course he had a deep portfolio of film and television work other than those as Ian Fleming’s super spy. A simple Google search will lead you to the body of his performances outside the realm of Bond. It was considerable, and worthwhile. I plan to reacquaint myself with it.
Goodnight, Sir Roger. May your further journeys be as enjoyable for you as your work was, and continues to be, for us. I do believe I would have enjoyed knowing you. Safe travels, 007.