Last Man Standing: Tales from Tinseltown

BOOK: Last Man Standing: Tales from Tinseltown
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LAST MAN STANDING

For every copy of this book sold in the UK, the publisher will make a donation of 20 pence to UNICEF UK (registered charity no. 1072612)

 

First published in Great Britain in 2014 by

Michael O’Mara Books Limited

9 Lion Yard

Tremadoc Road

London SW4 7NQ

Copyright © Sir Roger Moore 2014

All rights reserved. You may not copy, store, distribute, transmit, reproduce or otherwise make available this publication (or any part of it) in any form, or by any means (electronic, digital, optical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

ISBN: 978-1-78243-207-4 in hardback print format

ISBN: 978-1-78243-267-8 in ebook format

ISBN: 978-1-78243-286-9 in trade paperback format

www.mombooks.com

Designed and typeset by D23

CONTENTS

Foreword

Introduction

CHAPTER 1

The Fun – and Feisty – Leading Ladies

CHAPTER 2

The Pinewood Years

CHAPTER 3

Stage-struck

CHAPTER 4

On-set Tales

CHAPTER 5

The Good Guys (and a Few Rascals)

CHAPTER 6

The Rat Pack

CHAPTER 7

The Creative Geniuses

CHAPTER 8

The Producers

Postscript

In Closing ...

Acknowledgements

Picture Credits

Index

List of Illustrations

Plates

FOREWORD

W
HEN
I
STARTED OUT WRITING THIS TOME
, I
HAD THE
idea of calling it
One Lucky Bastard
because that’s what I feel I certainly am. But the ‘b-word’ was thought to be a little too risqué and wouldn’t look good on the bookshop shelves, so I thought I’d better come up with another title that would describe, perhaps more accurately, what I hope you will find to be an interesting, amusing and moving collection of memories and stories about friends, colleagues and loved ones I’ve encountered in my eighty-odd years.

Lana Turner, whom I had the greatest pleasure of working with in Hollywood, told me her pet hatred was another actress named Linda Christian, namely because when Lana was engaged to Tyrone Power, Linda found out where he was going to stay in Rome while working on a film and booked herself into a room next to his ... and the rest was history.

Why am I telling you this? Well, a while later, Linda and Edmund Purdom – who was under contract at MGM at the same time as me – started a big affair and to complicate matters further, Linda found herself in the centre of a rather sticky situation regarding
another
past affair, this time with a wealthy industrialist who had presented her with expensive jewels and precious diamonds that his family now wanted back. Linda felt she should have some recompense for her trouble, and when the day for a changeover of cash for
jewels was set, she asked me to accompany her and Edmund, feeling that because I was a fairly athletic and fit young man, I would ‘scare off’ any unwanted intervention.

A year or two later, I was offered a TV play with Linda, and it was quite the worst script I’d ever read. Though the stage directions made it very clear why Linda was so interested: ‘In the first scene, Linda makes her entrance and her beautiful hair is held back behind her ears ...’

Scene two: ‘Linda comes in with her beautiful hair and dress hanging over her shoulder and looks even more lovely than before ...’

This went on, and on. Vanity was obviously in play.

But the one thing I remember from the script was the description and explanation of death: ‘When one dies one has actually just gone into another room; we know you’re in there but don’t have the key to get in.’

That line has always stuck in my mind, and now being one of the last men standing I’m finding that a great many of my friends are in the next room. I don’t wish to be morbid, nor want to write a collection of obituaries, but I do write about quite a few of my friends in the past tense ... but don’t feel depressed, dear reader, feel happy that we’ve had these wonderful characters in our lives, as I certainly do. Frank Sinatra used to say, ‘Who’s going to be left to turn the light off?’

Hopefully, it’ll be me!

 

INTRODUCTION

D
UE TO THE PHENOMENAL WORLDWIDE SUCCESS OF MY
first published autobiography,
My Word is My Bond
, namely sales of two softback copies and one hardback in Burkina Faso, my publishers – poor misguided people with big hearts but short purse strings – have commissioned me to attempt to pen another pack of near truths.

By the time I deliver this manuscript I will have arrived at the ripe old age of eighty-six – I hope – four score years and six, and I’m very much reminded of dear old Bette Davis saying, ‘Old age ain’t no place for sissies’ as my creaking knees and aching back certainly attest. But where did these eighty-six years go? Many things have happened yet they seem to have flashed by in eighty-six minutes; I must have met hundreds of thousands of people, but can I remember them all, some of them ... a few? Well, I’ll try.

I have always imagined that somewhere in space a recording machine has documented every word, every image, and even more terrifyingly, every thought I have been involved with. I wonder what they’d think in Heaven if they tuned in to the lascivious thoughts that crossed my mind, aged thirteen, on seeing the girls at school with gymslips tucked into their dark blue bloomers as they performed in the hall or playground during PT? I know these are hardly the ideal reflections for a future UNICEF
Ambassador and I apologize for this momentary lapse into early teenage indiscretions, but at my age these matters come to mind much more readily than others, such as what I had for breakfast this morning.

I have been very fortunate to spend most of my life in the business we call ‘show’. It’s always interesting, often challenging and if Lady Luck favours us, and benevolent producers take pity on us, then it’s quite possible to make a living out of doing something really enjoyable. I’ve always maintained that any modicum of success I have savoured has been primarily down to good luck; yes, it helps if you look like a hero, if you can remember lines and if you work cheaply; but ultimately, if you’re not in the right place at the right time then you could still be an eighty-six-year-old ‘extra’ carrying a spear in a crowd scene.

While fame, success and good fortune affect people differently, we are, of course, all equal underneath; some like to think they are more equal than others I grant you. However, proving that beyond the glitz, glamour and flashbulbs, actors are still human, is a story that was told to me by Honor Blackman, who is perhaps most fondly remembered by Bond aficionados as the delightfully named Pussy Galore in
Goldfinger
. Honor had been attending a function in Birmingham and, prior to making her departure for the drive home, took the opportunity to powder her nose. Her friend-cum-driver was standing near the door awaiting her re-emergence when two elderly ladies exited ahead of Honor and were heard by him to say,

Number 1: ‘Did you see who that was?’

Number 2: ‘Yes, it was her, wasn’t it? Honor Blackman.’

Number 1: ‘Yeah and just think, she goes to the toilet like the rest of us!’

This marks my third literary effort, and this time I want to share with you some of the fun I’ve experienced with showbiz folk in my long and illustrious career, along with stories and tales that I’ve been told. In the pages ahead, while I would like to take the opportunity of updating you on the exciting six years since the publication of my first tome (and, perhaps most importantly for any fellow hypochondriacs, to share with you all my latest ailments, accidents and surgeries), I realize – and my wife Kristina often reminds me – that tales of my kidney stones, pacemaker, accidents and the like might not fascinate you, dear reader, as much as they do me and my doctors (my proctologist, congratulating me after the publication of my first volume, did say that he’d seen me from a whole different angle ...). Therefore I shall limit the bulk of what follows to more of a mixture of adventures and anecdotes drawn from the deepest recesses of my mind – or
failing that, ones I’ve just made up.

What I will say is that, in between paying jobs and book tours, Kristina and I split our time between Switzerland and Monaco. I’ve had a home in the South of France since the 1970s, the first being in St Paul de Vence – in fact that’s where I met Kristina; as neighbours we used to play tennis. Now we just watch.

It’s a wonderful part of the world, and very peaceful save for the odd private jet flying over. When you think of the Cote d’Azur, images of fancy yachts, golden beaches and sun-kissed restaurant and cafe terraces where patrons take shade with a glass of something pink come to mind. The tranquillity is only ever upset by the annual invasion
for the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix – events we happily try and dodge these days.

BOOK: Last Man Standing: Tales from Tinseltown
6.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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