CULTURE

Sir Roger Moore shows his saintly side with UNICEF event at the GB

Sir Roger Moore, the star who played James Bond in seven films, had the Hotel Grande Bretagne organize an unforgettable evening with a dinner in the flower-bedecked ballroom on September 7. The event was held to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Check out for Children program run by Starwood, the GB’s owner, in support of UNICEF. Moore, who received the CBE in 1999 and was knighted in 2003, became UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Children in 1996 after the sudden death of his predecessor, Audrey Hepburn. He threw himself into the role with enthusiasm, because it allowed him, he said, «to show my human side, not just the heroic and seductive sides, but also the feelings I have for children who are suffering.» He travels the world raising money for UNICEF programs, one of which is Starwood’s, which collected 11 million dollars in 10 years for child vaccinations. The program was the idea of Starwood’s vice president and legal consultant Robert Scott, who explained that 1 million dollars covers the cost of vaccinating 55,000 youngsters against the six principal childhood diseases. «One of the questions I am most often asked,» said Sir Roger, speaking at the GB, «is how much of that dollar goes on administration. I asked and found out that 9 cents goes on administration, and the rest on vaccinations.» Not bad, not bad at all, as James Bond would have said. Apart from the 007 films, Sir Roger also had great success with a television series, «The Saint,» the adventures of Simon Templar. Among the guests was another Simon, Moore’s compatriot, Simon Gass, the British ambassador to Athens, with his wife Marianne, and UNICEF officials from Greece and other countries. A glittering crowd of Athenian high society, ministers and entrepreneurs filled the ballroom and applauded the UNICEF program warmly. An orchestra played waltzes and opera music, and the food, as always, was excellent. Helbi met Sir Roger briefly in the GB’s presidential suite before dinner. Tall, handsome and charming, he lived up to his reputation. The only thing he didn’t want to hear of was a return to the screen. «What would I play, when Sean Connery plays grandfathers and I’m older than he is?» he asked.