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Ron Moody

Ron Moody
File:Ron Moody.jpg
Ron Moody, 1975
Born Ronald Moodnick
(1924-01-08) 8 January 1924 (age 96)
Tottenham, Middlesex, England
Occupation Actor, composer, singer, writer
Years active 1953–present
Spouse(s) Therese Blackbourn (1985-present)
Children 6

Ron Moody (born Ronald Moodnick; 8 January 1924)[1] is a British actor, best known for his Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated performance as Fagin in Oliver! and (mainly to younger audiences) as the legendary wizard Merlin in Disney's A Kid in King Arthur's Court.

Early life

Moody was born in Tottenham, Middlesex [2][3] (now part of Greater London), England, the son of Kate (née Ogus) and Bernard Moodnick, a studio executive.[4] His father was a Russian Jew and his mother was a Lithuanian Jew — said Moody, "I'm 100% Jewish — totally kosher!" [5][6] He is a cousin of director Laurence Moody and actress Clare Lawrence. His surname was legally changed to Moody in 1930.[4]


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 a sociologist. During World War II he enlisted in the RAF and became a radar technician.

Life and career

Despite training to be a sociologist, Moody began appearing in theatrical shows and later decided to become a professional actor.

Moody has 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 version, he received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor (Musical/Comedy), the Best Actor award at the 6th Moscow International Film Festival[7] and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

He appeared in several children's television series, including The Animals of Farthing Wood, Noah's Island, Telebugs, Into the Labyrinth, and the Discworld series. Among his better known roles is 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). 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.

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. He played Edwin Caldecott, an old nemesis of Jim Branning in EastEnders. 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. 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.

At the start of 2010, Moody began taking part in Memorabilia,[clarification needed] where he greeted fans along with signing autographs.


Moody married a Pilates teacher, Therese Blackbourn, in 1985. They have six children. Moody's son, Daniel, was the visual effects assistant on the 2010 film The Wolfman. After graduating from the University of York with a BA in 'Film, Theatre and Television', Daniel went on to work as a visual effects assistant on the 2013 film 47 Ronin. Jonathan, Ron's second youngest child is currently studying Mathematical Physics at the University of Nottingham.

Partial filmography


  1. ^ The Times 8 January 2010, Retrieved 2010-01-09
  2. ^ "My London". The Londoner. Mayor of London. August 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-06-18. 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. 
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ a b "Ron Moody Biography (1924-)". 1924-01-08. Retrieved 2011-12-10. 
  5. ^ Membery, York (18 February 2011). "Ron Moody: 'I very nearly became an accountant'". Daily Mail (London). 
  6. ^ "''Los Angeles Atimes'' report on Moody (cache)". 1973-04-29. Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  7. ^ "6th Moscow International Film Festival (1969)". MIFF. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  8. ^ Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life Of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 370. ISBN 1-84854-195-3. 

External links

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