Moody in 1975
8 January 1924
|Died||11 June 2015 91) (aged|
|Occupation||Actor, composer, singer, writer|
Therese Blackbourn(m. 1985–2015)
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Moody was born in Tottenham, Middlesex,, 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 the more anglicised Moody in 1930.
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 is an ancient county in southeast England. It is now 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 unit until 1965. The historic county includes land stretching north of the River Thames from 17 miles (27 km) west to 3 miles (5 km) east of the City of London with 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, was the second smallest county by area in 1831.
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 Diasporan Jewish groups, such as Mountain Jews, Sephardic Jews, Crimean Karaites, Krymchaks, Bukharan Jews, and Georgian Jews.
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.
Southgate School is a state comprehensive secondary school in the London Borough of Enfield. It has approximately 1574 pupils.
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".
The London School of Economics is a public research university located in London, England, and a constituent college 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.
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 , 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.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. 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.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.
Moody married a Pilates teacher, Therese Blackbourn, in 1985. The couple had six children.
Moody died of natural causes whilst in a London hospital on 11 June 2015, aged 91. His death left Shani Wallis, who played Nancy, and Mark Lester, who played Oliver, the last surviving principal cast members from Oliver!.
Albert Finney Jr. was an English actor who worked in film, television and theatre. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and worked in the theatre before attaining prominence on screen in the early 1960s, debuting with The Entertainer (1960), directed by Tony Richardson, who had previously directed him in the theatre. He maintained a successful career in theatre, film and television.
Ronald William Howard is an American filmmaker and actor. Howard is best known for playing two high-profile roles in television sitcoms in his youth and directing a number of successful feature films later in his career.
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