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Roger Moore's daughter reveals Bond star's heartbreaking final diary entries just weeks before his death

Mirror logo Mirror 9/11/2017 Rachael Bletchly
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Reading her father’s final book of memories was a bittersweet experience for Deborah Moore. She laughed at his naughty jokes, showbiz stories and self-deprecating anecdotes about becoming “an old fart”.

But then she reached the final chapter and a heart-rending admission that he was scared of death, of joining his mates “in the great cutting room in the sky”.

Because just weeks after he had penned those lines, 007 legend Sir Roger Moore did lose his short but incredibly brave battle with cancer, at the age of 89.

“I burst into floods of tears when I read his final reflections,” says Deborah, 53. “It was just so incredibly poignant.

“We didn’t think he was going to die – he didn’t think he was going to die – until the very last week. Dad’s illness came on quite quickly.”

Sir Roger had recovered from prostate cancer in 1993. He was later treated after a spot was found on his liver.

But Deborah says: “Just after Christ­­mas he went for some check-ups. That’s when they found it in his lung and liver.

“He started the chemo and the radiotherapy. I went out several times to see him and spent the last three weeks of his life with him. But he kept his stoicism and wit until the very end. I think deep down he must have known he was weakening and wasn’t going to get better.

“But right up until the end he still had his sense of humor and was still joking with the nurses. He never, ever complained. He was amazing.”

Fighting back tears, the actress adds: “I knew he was writing another book, ‘a little piece about the pros and cons of ageing’, he called it, but I never thought for a moment he wouldn’t live to see it published. He managed to finish it with the help of his wonderful PA, Gareth, then I was asked to write the prologue.

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“He called it A Bientot, which means ‘see you soon’ in French. And when I read it...oh my God, it was tough.

“It was hearing Dad’s voice again, his wonderful childlike humor, his optimism and zest for life. I just couldn’t imagine the world without him.”

Fans felt the same when Sir Roger died in May at his home in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. His children and wife of 15 years, Kiki, 77, were at his side.

Deborah and her brothers Geoffrey, 51, and Christian, 44, are his children by his third wife, actress Luisa Mattioli, 78.

But they had become close to Kiki’s daughter Christina, known as Flossie, who died of cancer last year at age 47.

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Sir Roger writes in his book: “Flossie was terribly brave and refused to give in. But the b*stard cancer took her from us in July 2016. I never imagined anyone could cry as much as her mother. No parent should have to bury a child. It was the cruelest, most awful thing.”

Deborah shakes her head. “That was tough. And that took it’s toll, too – it must have impacted on Dad.” Sir Roger shot to fame in The Saint in the 1960s then in The Persuaders in the 1970s. He took over from Sean Connery as James Bond in 1973.

Over the next 12 years, and seven movies, he brought a unique humor to 007, as well as a sardonic raised eyebrow. That humour shone through his earlier memoirs, My Word is My Bond and Last Man Standing.

In his final months, he could still poke fun at himself. Deb­orah says: “The way Dad writes about the absurdities of aging will ring true with many people. He used to say, ‘You know you’re old when you feel 21 but wonder who the old fart in the mirror staring back at you is?’.

“He jokes about being useless with technology, but he was far more tech-savvy than me. But he wasn’t a big fan of slang. He made up his own OAP text speak. BTW: bring the wheelchair. IMHO: Is my hearing aid on? BYOT: Bring your own teeth. GGPBL: Gotta go, pacemaker battery low.”

She adds: “Dad was a terrible hypochondriac, too, although he did beat Type 2 diabetes by changing his diet and he had a heart pacemaker fitted in 2003.”

Deborah only once saw him get truly irritated about his advancing years at the airport in Nice, France.

She says: “Dad’s pacemaker set off the security machine, so he had to step aside for another check. But the security woman was yelling ‘Monsieur il a un pacemaker’ and Dad was muttering, ‘Why don’t you tell them I’ve had prostate cancer, too’. But he dealt with it with great aplomb.

“Dad was old school, a true star. He never refused anyone an autograph or a photo, even if it was at the dinner table. He said, ‘No, these are the people who put me here’.”

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Deborah decided to follow her dad into acting after playing a schoolgirl in The Persuaders. In 1990 she starred opposite him in comedy Bullseye and joined him in a spoof Bond sketch on a Victoria Wood Christmas special. She has had a string of film and TV roles, including Lionheart, Alien Terminator and Sherlock, and was the face of Scottish Widows until 1995.

Though she always wanted to be a Bond baddie. “It’s a bit late now,” she smiles. “Unless they want a granny baddie.”

Deborah’s favourite Bond movie is her dad’s first, Live and Let Die. She and her brothers went with him to New Orleans and Jamaica for filming.

“It was the best time,” she says. “I was 10 and taken out of school bec­­ause Dad didn’t want the family split up. A tutor gave us lessons each day.

“I have such vivid memories of New Orleans. We went trick or treating with some of the local crew members’ kids. When we got back Dad insisted on going through everything claiming there might be razor blades hidden in the apples. But he was just after our sweets. He had a very sweet tooth.”

Deborah has so many other happy memories. She says: “He used to cook Christmas lunch and would be up two days before making the brandy butter. And God help anyone who went into the kitchen and tried to interfere.”

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In A Bientot, Sir Roger reminisces about his mother cooking apple pie and how “the merest sniff of cooking apples takes me right back to standing at her side”. Deborah says: “Reading that was incredibly poignant, because smells trigger my memories of Dad.

“His aftershave, his skin used to have such a lovely smell.

“My parents had an enormous bed, and when I was little Dad would lie there in the mornings reading the papers. I’d snuggle up next to him, put my head on his chest and listen to his breathing, hear his heart beating.”

Tears well up again, but Deborah says she is proud to be helping with her dad’s final book of memories. Proceeds go to Unicef, Sir Roger’s passion for the past three decades.

The family face a difficult milestone on October 14. It would have been Sir Roger’s 90th birthday. They’re considering a memorial service in Britain.

“Dad had been agnostic all his life but that changed about 15 years ago,” Deborah says. “He started believing there was something else out there.

“I used to say, ‘Oh Dad, of course there is. All your mates are up there in the great cutting room in the sky’.And that’s where he is now, I’m sure. Telling naughty jokes to all his mates in heaven and giving the angels something to flutter their wings about.”

Related slideshow: Roger Moore's life in pictures (via Photo Services)  Roger Moore: Life in pictures

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