Sir Roger Moore visits Ireland for UNICEF
A veteran actor he may be, but Roger Moore couldn't disguise his emotion when speaking about the late broadcaster Gerry Ryan yesterday, reports the Independent
The pair became close in recent years after Mr Ryan, an avid James Bond fan, had the actor on his radio show on a number of occasions and interviewed him for 'Ryan Confidential' last year.
Moore, who has been a Unicef ambassador for many years, is also close to Melanie Verwoerd, the organisation's Ireland director and Mr Ryan's former partner.
On his last visit to Ireland, late last year, the 82-year-old had dinner with the radio host before attending a Unicef function. Mr Ryan died suddenly in April.
"It was (a huge shock) to us as well," Moore said quietly yesterday, nodding to his wife Kristina. "It was very nasty news, a nasty moment. He was a lovely man," he added, looking uncomfortable. "It was very sad -- tragic."
Ms Verwoerd, though, wasn't present yesterday when Moore received a cheque for â¬240,000 on behalf of Unicef from Topaz petrol company.
Last year, Ms Verwoerd had said that the fundraising initiative -- which involves customers being asked to donate two cent on every petrol purchase -- could raise â¬1m over three years.
And Moore was confident the recession would not have an adverse effect on donations.
"You find that when times are bad, people are inclined to be more generous, strangely enough," he said.
"I find when my bank balance diminishes, I become more mean," he laughed.
"By supporting this initiative, people are helping to save children's lives.
"It's as simple as that."
Looking dapper in a well-cut suit and rose-tinted glasses, the longest-serving Bond actor said he had left his home in Monaco -- "too hot" -- for a few days in the south-east of Ireland with Kristina, his fourth wife, after completing some Unicef work here.
And how does his charity work compare with fighting megalomaniacs on screen?
"It's a different world completely," he said.
"In Bond, there's a script written, you know you are going to win. With Unicef, you have got to keep fighting."
But Bond, he assured us, will be back despite the current film being shelved because of financing problems.
But he wasn't so certain that his own face -- or that famous raised eyebrow -- will grace the screen again.
"I don't seem to have much time to do anything else but eat cake and travel for Unicef and fundraise and awareness campaigns," he said. "It's gratifying."
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