Moody in 1975
8 January 1924
Tottenham, Middlesex, England, UK
|Died||11 June 2015
London, England, United Kingdom
|Occupation||Actor, composer, singer, writer|
|Spouse(s)||Therese Blackbourn (m. 1985–2015)|
Ron Moody (born Ronald Moodnick; 8 January 1924 – 11 June 2015) was a British actor, singer, composer and writer best known for his portrayal of Fagin in Oliver! (1968) and its 1983 Broadway revival. Moody earned a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination for the film, as well as a Tony Award nomination for the stage production. Other notable projects include The Mouse on the Moon (1963), Mel Brooks' The Twelve Chairs (1970) and Flight of the Doves (1971), in which he shared the screen with Oliver! co-star Jack Wild.
Moody was born in Tottenham, north London, England, the son of Kate (née Ogus; 1898-1980) and Bernard/Barnett Moodnick (1896-1964), a studio executive. His father was a Russian Jew and his mother was a Lithuanian Jew; said Moody, "I'm 100% Jewish—totally kosher!" He was a cousin of director Laurence Moody and actress Clare Lawrence. His surname was legally changed to Moody in 1930.
Moody was educated at Southgate County School, which at the time was a state grammar school, and based in Palmers Green, Middlesex, followed by the London School of Economics in Central London, where he trained to become an economist. During World War II he enlisted in the Royal Air Force (RAF) and became a radar technician.
Life and career
Despite training to be an economist, Moody began appearing in theatrical shows and later decided to become a professional actor.
Moody worked in a variety of genres, but is perhaps best known for his starring role as Fagin in Lionel Bart's stage and film musical Oliver! based on Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. He created the role in the original West End production in 1960, and reprised it in the 1984 Broadway revival, garnering a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. For his performance in the 1968 film Oliver!, he received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor (Musical/Comedy), the Best Actor award at the 6th Moscow International Film Festival and an Academy Award nomination in the same category. Reflecting on the role, Moody states: "Fate destined me to play Fagin. It was the part of a lifetime. That summer of 1967 [during filming] was one of the happiest times of my life". He reprised his role as Fagin at the 1985 Royal Variety Performance in Theatre Royal, Drury Lane before Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Moody appeared in several children's television series, including the voice of Badger and Toad in the TV Adaptation of Colin Dann's The Animals of Farthing Wood, Noah's Island, Telebugs, Into the Labyrinth, and the Discworld series. Among his better known roles was that of Prime Minister Rupert Mountjoy in the comedy The Mouse on the Moon (1963), alongside Margaret Rutherford, with whom he appeared again the following year in Murder Most Foul (1964), one of Rutherford's Miss Marple films. He played French entertainer and mime artist The Great Orlando in the 1963 Cliff Richard film Summer Holiday. He acted again with former Oliver! co-star Jack Wild in Flight of the Doves (1971).
In 1969, Moody was offered, but declined, the lead role in Doctor Who, following the departure of Patrick Troughton from the part. He later told many people (including Doctor Who companion Elisabeth Sladen) that declining the role was a decision he subsequently regretted. He played Ippolit Vorobyaninov alongside Frank Langella (as Ostap Bender) in Mel Brooks' version of The Twelve Chairs (1970). In 2003, he starred in the black comedy Paradise Grove alongside Rula Lenska, and played Edwin Caldecott, an old nemesis of Jim Branning on the BBC soap EastEnders. In 2005, he acted in the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio play Other Lives, playing the Duke of Wellington.
In 2004, the British ITV1 nostalgia series After They Were Famous hosted a documentary of the surviving cast of the film Oliver! Several of the film's musical numbers were reenacted. Moody, then 80 but still spry, and Jack Wild (seriously ill with oral cancer at the time) recreated their dance from the closing credits of the film.
Moody appeared in an episode of BBC1's Casualty (aired on 30 January 2010) as a Scottish patient who had served with the Black Watch during the Second World War. On 30 June 2010, Moody appeared on stage at the end of a performance of Cameron Mackintosh's revival of Oliver! and made a humorous speech about the show's 50th anniversary. He then reprised the "Pick a Pocket or Two" number with the cast.
- Follow a Star (1959)
- Five Golden Hours (1961)
- A Pair of Briefs (1962)
- Summer Holiday (1963)
- The Mouse on the Moon (1963)
- Ladies Who Do (1963)
- Murder Most Foul (1964)
- The Sandwich Man (1966)
- Oliver! (1968)
- David Copperfield (1969)
- The Twelve Chairs (1970)
- Flight of the Doves (1971)
- Legend of the Werewolf (1975)
- Dogpound Shuffle (1975)
- The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It (1977)
- Dominique (1978)
- Unidentified Flying Oddball, aka The Spaceman and King Arthur (1979)
- Othello (as Iago) (1981)
- Wrong Is Right (1982)
- Where Is Parsifal? (1983)
- Asterix and the Big Fight (1989) (voice)
- A Ghost in Monte Carlo (1990)
- The Animals of Farthing Wood (TV series) (1993-1995) (voice)
- A Kid in King Arthur's Court (1995)
- Noah's Island (1997–1999) (voice)
- Revelation (2001)
- Paradise Grove (2003)
- "My London". The Londoner. Mayor of London. August 2005. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 18 June 2007.
Are you a London boy originally? Yes. I was born in Tottenham. Then we moved to Hornsey, which was not that far away, but was a few steps up the social ladder.
- In his most recent autobiography Moody cites attendance at two schools based in Harringay. Hornsey and Tottenham were both used as alternative terms to refer to Harringay, Moody R, A Still Untitled, (Not Quite) Autobiography, JR Books, 2011
- "Ron Moody Biography (1924–)". Filmreference.com. 8 January 1924. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
- Membery, York (18 February 2011). "Ron Moody: 'I very nearly became an accountant'". Daily Mail (London).
- "Los Angeles Atimes report on Moody (cache)". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 29 April 1973. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- "Oliver! actor Ron Moody dies aged 91". BBC News. 11 June 2015.
- "6th Moscow International Film Festival (1969)". MIFF. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- "Ron Moody, Fagin in Oliver, dies aged 91. Gloucestershire Echo. Retrieved 11 June 2015
- Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life Of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 370. ISBN 1-84854-195-3.
- Barker, Dennis (11 June 2015). "Ron Moody obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
- "Actor Ron Moody dies at 91; earned Oscar nomination for role as Fagin in 'Oliver!'". Los Angeles Times. 11 June 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
- Singh, Anita (11 June 2015). "Ron Moody, Fagin actor, dies at 91". The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group Limited). Retrieved 11 June 2015.
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