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October 9, 2012

Roger Moore's Bond had serious fun

"I never do this," David Horowitz, a public relations executive for ABC, said as he picked up British actor Roger Moore at Kennedy Airport. "Can I have your autograph for my son?"

It was 1986, and Moore was in New York City to do some publicity for the network. A year earlier, he had starred, at age 58, in "A View to a Kill." It was his last James Bond film but also the first that Horowitz's son saw in the theaters. In that movie, Moore's 007 takes on Christopher Walken, an evil genius/rogue KGB operative/Nazi-experiment-gone-awry who flies around in a blimp, out of which he sometimes drops people. Moore, alternating between black and white tuxedos, Paris and San Francisco, does recon at a horse track, skis, and has a chiaroscuro sex scene with Grace Jones before saving Silicon Valley and ending up safely in a shower with yet another woman. All of this capped by a theme song performed by Duran Duran.

That combination made a profound impression on Horowitz's 8-year-old son, for whom the notion of a secret agent man who never overly exerted himself proved just as healthy a role model as an all-star first baseman who smoked in the dugout. So when Horowitz returned home to Queens after a day of shepherding Moore around the city, it caused a stir when he produced from his weather-beaten briefcase a signed promotional headshot of Moore, himself looking rather weather-beaten, with crow's feet around his eyes, a rogue's smile on his mouth, an unbuttoned white collar on his neck and rugged furrows in his Hollywood-tanned brow. The picture was quickly framed and hung above the light switch in young Horowitz's room. For years to come, a flicking on of the light revealed a scrawl on the glossy's upper right-hand corner that read, "To Jason, With my best wishes, Roger Moore."

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