Was Roger Moore Really Ian Fleming’s First Choice to Play James Bond?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Roger Moore was Ian Fleming’s first choice for James Bond.

One of the most debated subjects in all of Hollywood (and beyond) is which actor should play James Bond in the film adaptations of Ian Fleming’s classic spy novels. Every time a new actor is needed for the role, the level of scrutiny and outrage is more similar to the selection of a new President of the United States, not the next actor to play a famous film character. While the selection process is still quite controversial (many die hard Bond enthusiasts still can’t wrap their heads around the idea of Daniel Craig playing the role, even as his latest Bond film, Skyfall, just passed a billion dollars in box office receipts worldwide), the level of controversy was even greater when the first James Bond, Sean Connery

was replaced for 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service with actor George Lazenby.

For various reasons, Lazenby only did a single film and Connery returned for the next Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever. However, in 1973, Connery was finally successfully replaced by actor Roger Moore, who ended up doing seven films as James Bond.

One of the hooks used to put minds at ease for Moore’s stint as Bond was the alleged fact that Ian Fleming’s first choice to play James Bond was Moore, who Fleming liked in the TV series, The Saint.

Is that true? Was Roger Moore almost the first actor to play James Bond? The truth is quite complicated, as you’ll soon find out…

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