Sunday 11 December 2016

I have failed all my life - Moody, the actor who found fame with Fagin, dies

Robert Dex

Published 12/06/2015 | 02:30

Ron Moody as Fagin in a reprise of the role in 1985
Ron Moody as Fagin in a reprise of the role in 1985
Ron Moody has died aged 91

The Actor and comedian Ron Moody, who played Fagin in the hit film version of 'Oliver!', has died aged 91.

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The star, who was nominated for the best actor Oscar in 1968 for his performance in the Charles Dickens adaptation, died in hospital yesterday.

His widow, Therese, said: "He brought joy to his family and to the hearts of many and will be greatly missed. He was singing until the end."

His agent said Mr Moody, who died in hospital, had been ill for some time.

He was born Ronald Moodnick in north London and played the role of the master criminal in the stage version of the musical in the West End and on Broadway before making the film.

He had a lengthy career in TV and film, including an appearance on 'EastEnders', but was said to have turned down the role of Doctor Who.

He is survived by his widow and six children.

His best-known performance on stage and screen was as Fagin in 'Oliver!', Lionel Bart's musical comedy (1960) from the novel 'Oliver Twist'.

With his height, stooped figure, long, hooked nose, large eyes, lop-sided face, mournful expression, busy, inquisitive manner and India-rubber gait, Moody was unforgettably well cast as Dickens's villainous employer of thieves and pickpockets, and gave a superbly robust, precise and incisive performance.

Among his brilliantly delivered songs were 'You've got to pick a pocket or two' and 'I'm reviewing the situation'.

After a year as Fagin he reviewed his situation. As a graduate of long-running West End satirical revues, with a gift for impersonation, caricature and satirising issues and icons of the day, he had become - with a single role - a star.

The clever new clown with the tragi-comic stance and the larger-than-life technique decided to quit.

He never found another part to match its triumph, though he remained in more or less constant employment for the rest of his career in films, on television, in musical comedies of his own devising, and in cabaret.

He had been typecast: he could never break the mould.

Moody was also a graduate of the London School of Economics.

"When you have spent five of your formative years thinking and studying in a university, it affects your values. You live your life on a different level," he said years later.

"I don't consider myself a professional actor. I have failed all my life, and I'm not ashamed of it. After all, what's so good about success? It is unhealthy. It creates a completely false sense of values."

Irish Independent

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