Clayton Moore

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Clayton Moore
Lone ranger silver 1965.JPG
Clayton Moore as The Lone Ranger
Born Jack Carlton Moore[1]
(1914-09-14)September 14, 1914
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died December 28, 1999(1999-12-28) (aged 85)
West Hills, Los Angeles
California, USA
Cause of death
Heart attack
Resting place
Forest Lawn Memorial Park
Residence Calabasas, California
Occupation Actor
Years active 1934–1999
Known for The Lone Ranger
Television The Lone Ranger
Spouse(s) Mary Moore (1940-1942)
Sally Allen (1943-1986) (her death) 1 child
Connie Moore (1986-1989)
Clarita Moore (1992-1999) (his death)

Clayton Moore (September 14, 1914 – December 28, 1999) was an American actor best known for playing the fictional western character the Lone Ranger from 1949–1951 and 1954–1957 on the television series of the same name.

Early years[edit]

Born Jack Carlton Moore in Chicago, Illinois, Moore became a circus acrobat by age 8 and appeared at the Century of Progress exposition in Chicago in 1934 with a trapeze act.[2] He graduated from Stephen K. Hayt Elementary School, Sullivan Junior High School and Senn High School on the far Northside of Chicago.[3]

As a young man, Moore worked successfully as a John Robert Powers model. Moving to Hollywood in the late 1930s, he worked as a stunt man and bit player between modeling jobs. According to his 1996 autobiography I Was That Masked Man, around 1940, Hollywood producer Edward Small persuaded him to adopt the stage name "Clayton" Moore. He was an occasional player in B westerns and the lead in four Republic Studio cliffhangers, and two for Columbia. Moore served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II and made training films (Target--Invisible, etc.) with the First Motion Picture Unit.

As the Lone Ranger[edit]

Moore's career advanced in 1949, when George Trendle spotted him in the Ghost of Zorro serial. Trendle was creator-producer of The Lone Ranger radio show (with writer Fran Striker), and was about to launch the television version, and Moore landed the role.

Moore trained his voice to sound like the radio version of The Lone Ranger, which had then been on the air since 1933, and succeeded in lowering his already distinctive baritone even further. With the first notes of Rossini's "William Tell Overture", Moore and co-star Jay Silverheels, as the Indian companion Tonto, made history as the stars of the first western written specifically for television. The Lone Ranger soon became the highest-rated program to that point on the fledgling ABC network and its first true hit. It earned an Emmy Award nomination in 1950. Moore starred in 169 episodes of the series.[4]

The premise of The Lone Ranger is that all of the Texas Rangers were massacred except one, unidentified by name (and later wearing a black mask). The surviving Ranger and Tonto roam the American West helping the downtrodden do battle with the lawless element wherever it is found. Glenn Strange in the early episodes played Butch Cavendish, the outlaw responsible for the massacre of the Rangers.[5]

Leaving series[edit]

After two successful years presenting a new episode every week, 52 weeks a year, Moore was fired and left the series, for reasons he never knew, according to his book I Was That Masked Man. As "Clay Moore", he made a few more westerns and serials, sometimes playing the villain. Moore was replaced for the third season by actor John Hart. Eventually the producers of The Lone Ranger rehired Moore (it is believed that fan acceptance of Hart in the role was low), and he remained with the program until it ended first-run production in 1957. He and Jay Silverheels also starred in two feature-length Lone Ranger motion pictures. Moore appeared in other television series too, including a role in the 1952 episode "Snake River Trapper" of Bill Williams's syndicated western, The Adventures of Kit Carson. He appeared twice on Jock Mahoney's syndicated western series, The Range Rider, as Martin Wickett in "Ambush in Coyote Canyon" in 1952 and as Dan Meighan in "The Saga of Silver Town" in 1953.

After completion of the second feature, The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold in 1958, Moore embarked on what would be 40 years of personal appearances, TV guest spots, and classic commercials as the legendary masked man. Silverheels joined him for occasional reunions during the early 1960s. Throughout his career, Moore expressed respect and love for Silverheels.

The Finale or "cavalry charge" of the The William Tell Overture by Gioachino Rossini was used as the theme music for The Lone Ranger in the movies, serials, television and on radio and for Lark (cigarette) television commercials in the 1960s. Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels appeared in Stan Freberg's Jeno's Pizza Rolls commercial.

Lawsuit over public appearances[edit]

In 1979, the owner of the Ranger character, Jack Wrather, obtained a court order prohibiting Moore from making future appearances as The Lone Ranger.[6] Wrather anticipated making a new film version of the story and did not want the value of the character being undercut by Moore's appearances. Wrather did not want to encourage the belief that the 65-year-old Moore would be playing the role in the new picture. This move proved to be a public relations disaster. Moore responded by changing his costume slightly and replacing the Domino mask with similar-looking Foster Grant wraparound sunglasses, and by counter-suing Wrather. He eventually won the suit, and was able to resume his appearances in costume, which he continued to do until shortly before his death. For a time he worked in publicity tie-ins with the Texas Rangers baseball team. (Wrather's new motion picture of the character, The Legend of the Lone Ranger, was released in 1981 and was a critical and commercial failure.)

Moore often was quoted as saying he had "fallen in love with the Lone Ranger character" and strove in his personal life to take The Lone Ranger Creed to heart. This, coupled with his public fight to retain the right to wear the mask, linked him inextricably with the character. In this regard, he was much like another cowboy star, William Boyd, who portrayed the Hopalong Cassidy character. Moore was so identified with the masked man that he is the only person on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as of 2006, to have his character's name along with his on the star, which reads, "Clayton Moore — The Lone Ranger". He was inducted into the Stuntman's Hall of Fame in 1982 and in 1990 was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Moore also was awarded a place on the Western Walk of Fame in Old Town Newhall, California.


Clayton Moore died on December 28, 1999, in a West Hills, California, hospital after suffering a heart attack at his home in nearby Calabasas. He was survived by his fourth wife, Clarita Moore, and an adopted daughter, Dawn Angela Moore. Moore was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.[1][7][8][9]


Year Title Role Note
1937 Forlorn River Cowboy uncredited
1937 Thunder Trail Cowboy uncredited
1938 Go Chase Yourself Reporter uncredited
1939 Burn 'Em Up O'Connor Hospital Interne as Jack Moore
1940 Kit Carson Paul Terry
1940 The Son of Monte Cristo Lieutenant Fritz Dorner
1941 International Lady Sewell
1941 Tuxedo Junction Bill Bennett
1942 Black Dragons FBI Agent Richard 'Dick' Martin
1942 Perils of Nyoka Dr. Larry Grayson
1942 Outlaws of Pine Ridge Lane Hollister
1946 The Bachelor's Daughters Bill Cotter
1946 The Crimson Ghost Ashe
1947 Jesse James Rides Again Jesse James
1947 Along the Oregon Trail Gregg Thurston
1948 G-Men Never Forget Agent Ted O'Hara
1948 Marshal of Amarillo Art Crandall
1948 Adventures of Frank and Jesse James Jesse James
1949 The Far Frontier Tom Sharper
1949 Sheriff of Wichita Raymond D'Arcy
1949 Riders of the Whistling Pines Henchman Pete
1949 Ghost of Zorro Ken Mason/ el Zorro
1949 Frontier Investigator Scott Garnett
1949 The Cisco Kid Lieutenant
1949 South of Death Valley Brad
1949 Masked Raiders Matt Trevett
1949 The Cowboy and the Indians Henchman Luke
1949 Bandits of El Dorado B. F. Morgan
1949 Sons of New Mexico Rufe Burns
1949/1957 The Lone Ranger The Lone Ranger (TV series) 169 episodes
1951 Cyclone Fury Grat Hanlon
1952 Son of Geronimo: Apache Avenger Jim Scott as Clay Moore
1952 The Hawk of Wild River The Hawk
1952 Radar Men from the Moon Graber
1952 Night Stage to Galveston Clyde Chambers
1952 Captive of Billy the Kid Paul Howard
1953 Jungle Drums of Africa Alan King as Clay Moore
1953 Kansas Pacific Henchman Stone
1953 The Bandits of Corsica Ricardo
1953 Down Laredo Way Chip Wells
1954 Gunfighters of the Northwest Bram Nevin
1955 "Apache Ambush" Townsman
1956 The Lone Ranger The Lone Ranger (1956 film)
1958 The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold The Lone Ranger (1958 film)


  1. ^ a b "Clayton Moore, the 'Lone Ranger,' dead at 85". CNN. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  2. ^ Goldstein, Richard (1999-12-29). "Clayton Moore, Television's Lone Ranger And a Persistent Masked Man, Dies at 85". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-25. 
  3. ^ "Illinois Hall of Fame". Illinois State Society Of Washington, DC. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Ibid.
  5. ^ Billy Hathorn, "Roy Bean, Temple Houston, Bill Longley, Ranald Mackenzie, Buffalo Bill, Jr., and the Texas Rangers: Depictions of West Texans in Series Television, 1955 to 1967", West Texas Historical Review, Vol. 89 (2013), pp. 102-103
  6. ^ "Who's That Masked Man? Hi-Yo-It's Clayton Moore!". The Los Angeles Times. 1985-01-15. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  7. ^ Vallance, Tom (1999-12-30). "Obituary: Clayton Moore". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  8. ^ Stassel, Stephanie (1999-12-29). "Clayton Moore, TV's 'Lone Ranger,' Dies". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  9. ^ "Lone Ranger star dies". BBC. 1999-12-29. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 


  • I Was That Masked Man, by Clayton Moore with Frank Thompson, Taylor Publishing Company, 1996 - ISBN 0-87833-939-6


External links[edit]