Celebrity raconteurs are few and far between today. The skill of telling a story and captivating listeners is a lost art. There was a time when actors and musicians did the chat show circuit, regaling the audience with wonderful tales and tantalising yarns. That rarely happens today and you’re more likely to get a well rehearsed soundbite or monosyllabic mumble than witty banter or a snappy one liner.
Roger Moore may be one of the last great storytellers from the Hollywood of yesteryear. The former James Bond’s latest memoir, Last Man Standing: Tales From Tinseltown is a glorious tome filled with style, humour and a touch of melancholy. Moore looks back on friends and co-stars, dishing the dirt on some of Hollywood’s legendary characters, while also telling a few candid tales about what the A-list got up to in a time before camera phones and social media. Moore’s martini-dry wit and self-deprecating humour lace the book with a style that few modern celebrity memoirs could even muster.
This isn’t an autobiography (Moore discussed his life in My Word Is My Bond), nor an overview of the James Bond series (he told that tale on Bond On Bond). This is simply a scattershot overview of the stars and icons that Moore interacted with throughout his lengthy career. Memorable characters like Frank Sinatra, Michael Caine, Joan Collins, Richard Harris, Michael Winner, Tony Curtis, Richard Burton, Gregory Peck, David Niven and Liz Taylor (to name just a few) whiz by as Moore shows us what it was really like to be a celebrity in a time when it really meant something (as opposed to now, when it means absolutely nothing). Moore makes it clear that he has had a blast, carving a career which has seen him play everything from Maverick to Simon Templar and of course, James Bond.
Last Man Standing is a very funny book, but it’s also tinged with sadness; Moore knows that he’s one of the few stars from Hollywood’s golden period left. He laments at having seen close friends like David Niven and Gregory Peck pass on to ‘the cutting room upstairs’. Roger Moore makes it clear that he knows he was incredibly fortunate to have carved out such a memorable life. In short, he knows that, in his own words from the book, he’s ‘one lucky bastard’.
Last Man Standing: Tales From Tinseltown is out now from Michael O’Mara books.