Dudley_Moore

Happy birthday Dudley Moore!

Dudley Moore (April 19, 1935 – March 27, 2002) was a British actor, comedian, musician, and composer. He worked as a writer and performer on Beyond the Fringe, a comedic stage revue that is widely considered the beginning of British satire. He went on to work heavily with Peter Cook, and the two are both perhaps best known for their collaboration portraying the characters Pete and Dud.  

 

After his work with Cook, Moore moved on to a film career, appearing in such titles as Foul Play (1978), 10 (1979), and Arthur (1981). Having gotten his start in music, Moore also had a prolific music career, composing scores for several films and performing and recording with The Dudley Moore Trio throughout the 1960s. 

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Moore was born in Dagenham, England to Ada Francis, a secretary, and John Moore, an electrician. He was born with club feet and only ever reached the height of 5'2½''. He started playing violin and piano after becoming a choirboy at the age of six. He advanced quickly, and earned a scholarship to Guildhall School of Music by the time he was 11. There, he studied harpsichord, organ, violin, musical theory and composition. Eventually, he won a scholarship to Magdalen College at Oxford for organ. He studied music and composition there, and started performing with the Oxford Revue. This is where he met Alan Bennett who would end up recommending him to the producer of Beyond the Fringe.

 

In 1960, he formed The Dudley Moore Trio with Chris Karan, Pete McGurk, and later Peter Morgan (who joined after McGurk's suicide). They had a long residency at Peter Cook's nightclub, The Establishment. They also performed regularly on television. Moore also composed a fair amount throughout the 1960s, including for the films Bedazzled (1967), Inadmissible Evidence (1968), Staircase (1969) and later on, Six Weeks (1982).

 

 

 

 

He had also been working as a producer of Beyond the Fringe throughout the 1960s and by 1965, he and co-producer Cook went on to produce the series Not Only...But Also. One of the most popular segments of the series consisted of "The Dagenham Dialogues" with Pete and Dud, which amounted to five to ten minutes of rambling conversation.

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Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. Image source

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In 1968, Moore decided to spend more time on his film career and he went on to star in 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia (1968).

 

 

Later in 1979, he starred in 10 with Bo Derek, marking the biggest success he had had in film.

 

He was later nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in Arthur (1981), in which he co-starred with Liza Minelli.

 

Moore served as the founding Advisory Board President of Music For All Seasons, which is an organization that aims to give better access to people who lack access to music for health or economic reasons.

Moore suffered from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, his symptoms first becoming apparent in the 1970s and leading people to believe he had an alcohol problem. As a result, two roles he was cast for early in his film career were as characters who were slightly alcoholic. By the 1990's, he was unable to remember his lines, and this had a dramatic effect on his film career.

In June 2001, Moore was named a commander of the British Empire.

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Moore married and divorced four times, first to Suzy Kendall, then to Tuesday Weld, Brogan Lane, and Nicole Rothschild. He had one son with Weld and another with Rothschild. He maintained good relationships with all of them but Rothschild and explicitly stated that he did not want her to attend his funeral. He was also very close to music critic and musician Rena Fruchter, whom he met in 1987 when she interviewed him for The New York Times. He was holding her hand when he died in 2002, and she later wrote in her memoir of their relationship that his last words were, "I can hear the music all around me."

 

 

Related post:

Today's Birthday in Comedy: Peter Cook (November 17)

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Saturday, 19 April 2014
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