Ron Moody

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Ron Moody
Ron Moody.jpg
Moody in 1975
Born
Ronald Moodnick

(1924-01-08)8 January 1924
Tottenham, Middlesex, England
Died11 June 2015(2015-06-11) (aged 91)
London, England
OccupationActor, composer, singer, writer
Years active1952–2012
Spouse(s)
Therese Blackbourn(m. 19852015)
Children6

Ron Moody (born Ronald Moodnick, 8 January 1924 11 June 2015) was an English 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's The Twelve Chairs (1970) and Flight of the Doves (1971), in which Moody shared the screen with Oliver! co-star Jack Wild.

Fagin fictional human from Charles Dickens Oliver Twist

Fagin is a fictional character in Charles Dickens' novel Oliver Twist. In the preface to the novel, he is described as a "receiver of stolen goods". He is the leader of a group of children whom he teaches to make their livings by pickpocketing and other criminal activities, in exchange for shelter. A distinguishing trait is his constant—and insincere—use of the phrase "my dear" when addressing others. At the time of the novel, he is said by another character, Monks, to have already made criminals out of "scores" of children. Nancy, who is the lover of Bill Sikes, is confirmed to be Fagin's former pupil.

<i>Oliver!</i> (film) 1968 film by Carol Reed

Oliver! is a 1968 British musical drama film directed by Carol Reed, written by Vernon Harris, and based on the stage musical of the same name. Both the film and play are based on Charles Dickens's novel Oliver Twist. The film includes such musical numbers as "Food, Glorious Food", "Consider Yourself", "As Long as He Needs Me", "You've Got to Pick a Pocket or Two", and "Where Is Love?". Filmed at Shepperton Film Studio in Surrey, it was a Romulus Films production and was distributed internationally by Columbia Pictures.

Golden Globe Award award of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

The Golden Globe Awards are accolades bestowed by the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association beginning in January 1944, recognizing excellence in film and television, both domestic and foreign.

Contents

Moody holds the peculiar distinction of having portrayed the wizard Merlin in two Disney films, Unidentified Flying Oddball (1979) and A Kid in King Arthur's Court (1995).

Merlin legendary figure

Merlin is a legendary figure best known as an enchanter or wizard featured in Arthurian legend and medieval Welsh poetry. The standard depiction of the character first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written c. 1136, and is based on an amalgamation of previous historical and legendary figures. Geoffrey combined existing stories of Myrddin Wyllt, a North Brythonic prophet and madman with no connection to King Arthur, with tales of the Romano-British war leader Ambrosius Aurelianus to form the composite figure he called Merlin Ambrosius.

<i>Unidentified Flying Oddball</i> 1979 film by Russ Mayberry

Unidentified Flying Oddball is a 1979 film adaptation of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, directed by Russ Mayberry and produced by Walt Disney Productions. Subsequently re-released in the United States under the title A Spaceman in King Arthur’s Court, the film stars Dennis Dugan as NASA employee Tom Trimble who unintentionally travels back in time with his look-alike android Hermes.

<i>A Kid in King Arthurs Court</i> 1995 film by Michael Gottlieb

A Kid in King Arthur's Court is a 1995 family film directed by Michael Gottlieb and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is based on the Mark Twain novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, transplanted into the twentieth century.

Early life

Moody was born in Tottenham, Middlesex, [1] [2] , the son of Kate (née Ogus; 1898-1980) and Bernard/Barnett Moodnick (1896-1964), a studio executive. [3] His father was a Russian Jew and his mother was a Lithuanian Jew; said Moody, "I'm 100% Jewish—totally kosher!" [4] He was a cousin of director Laurence Moody and actress Clare Lawrence. His surname was legally changed to the more anglicised Moody in 1930. [3]

Tottenham town in the London Borough of Haringay

Tottenham is a district of North London, England, in the London Borough of Haringey. It is 5.9 miles (9.5 km) north-north-east of Charing Cross.

Middlesex historic county of England

Middlesex is an historic county in southeast England. Its area is now almost entirely within the wider urbanised area of London. Its area is now also mostly within the ceremonial county of Greater London, with small sections in other neighbouring ceremonial counties. It was established in the Anglo-Saxon system from the territory of the Middle Saxons, and existed as an official administrative unit until 1965. The county is bounded to the south by the River Thames, and includes the rivers Colne and Lea and a ridge of hills as the other boundaries. The largely low-lying county, dominated by clay in its north and alluvium on gravel in its south, is the second smallest by area of England's historic counties, after Rutland.

Jews in Russia have historically constituted a large religious diaspora; the vast territories of the Russian Empire at one time hosted the largest population of Jews in the world. Within these territories the primarily Ashkenazi Jewish communities of many different areas flourished and developed many of modern Judaism's most distinctive theological and cultural traditions, while also facing periods of anti-Semitic discriminatory policies and persecutions. The largest group among Russian Jews are Ashkenazi Jews, but the community also includes a significant proportion of other non-Ashkenazi from other Jewish diaspora including Mountain Jews, Sephardic Jews, Crimean Karaites, Krymchaks, Bukharan Jews, and Georgian Jews.

Education

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. [5] During World War II he enlisted in the Royal Air Force (RAF) and became a radar technician. [5]

Southgate School is a state comprehensive secondary school in the London Borough of Enfield. It has approximately 1574 pupils.

Palmers Green area in London, England

Palmers Green is a suburban area of the London Borough of Enfield in north London, England. It is located within the N13 postcode district, around 8 miles (13 km) north of Charing Cross. It is home to the largest population of Greek Cypriots outside Cyprus and is often nicknamed "Little Cyprus" or "Palmers Greek".

London School of Economics Public research university in Westminster, central London, England

The London School of Economics is a public research university located in London, England, and a member institution of the federal University of London. Founded in 1895 by Fabian Society members Sidney Webb, Beatrice Webb, Graham Wallas, and George Bernard Shaw for the betterment of society, LSE joined the University of London in 1900 and established its first degree courses under the auspices of the University in 1901. The LSE started awarding its own degrees in 2008, prior to which it awarded degrees of the University of London.

Life and career

Despite training to be an economist, Moody began appearing in theatrical shows and later decided to become a professional actor. [5]

"My proudest moment was the number "Reviewing the Situation". I suspect that, because I gave my all to the role, and because I was working with such a fine team of people, it inhibited my future career. I turned down quite a few offers afterwards because I thought the people didn't come close to those I'd worked with on Oliver! —which in retrospect was a mistake."

—Moody on his acclaimed role as Fagin and subsequent career. [5]

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. [6] 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". [5] 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. [7]

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 , and Into the Labyrinth . 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. [8] He later told many people (including Doctor Who companion Elisabeth Sladen) that declining the role was a decision he subsequently regretted. [5] 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 . [5] In 2005, he acted in the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio play Other Lives , playing the Duke of Wellington. He made several appearances in BBC TVs long running variety show, The Good Old Days, enacting pastiche/comic Victorian melodramas.

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. [5] 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. [5]

Moody was a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur FC.

Family

Moody married a Pilates teacher, Therese Blackbourn, in 1985. The couple had six children. [9]

Death

Moody died of natural causes whilst in a London hospital on 11 June 2015, aged 91. Following the death of Sheila White who played Bet left Shani Wallis, who played Nancy, and Mark Lester, who played Oliver and Kenneth Cranham who played Noah Claypole as the last surviving cast members from Oliver! [10] [11]

Partial filmography

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References

  1. "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.
  2. 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
  3. 1 2 "Ron Moody Biography (1924–)". Filmreference.com. 8 January 1924. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  4. "Los Angeles Atimes report on Moody (cache)". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 29 April 1973. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Oliver! actor Ron Moody dies aged 91". BBC News. 11 June 2015.
  6. "6th Moscow International Film Festival (1969)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  7. "Ron Moody, Fagin in Oliver, dies aged 91 Archived 12 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine . Gloucestershire Echo. Retrieved 11 June 2015
  8. Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life Of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 370. ISBN   1-84854-195-3.
  9. Barker, Dennis (11 June 2015). "Ron Moody obituary". The Guardian . Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  10. "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.
  11. Singh, Anita (11 June 2015). "Ron Moody, Fagin actor, dies at 91". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 11 June 2015.