Thursday 11 June 2015

Ron Moody has left us


I am so sorry that Ron Moody has died. As a boy, I saw him in his one man show at the Palace Theatre, Westcliff-on-Sea, the super theatre 400 yards from our house. He was unforgettably good as Fagin in Oliver, but most of all I loved him in The Twelve Chairs, Mel Brooks' second and best film. Here he is beating up Mel Brooks.

He made his name in the stage version of Oliver, but left it after a year and turned down the offer to reprise the role of Fagin on Broadway.

I didn't want to go. I was very patriotic.
Fortunately, he did reprise the role in the later film version, for which he will always be remembered.

BBC television offered him the role of the third incarnation of Doctor Who but he turned that down too, a decision he later bitterly regretted. The part went to Jon Pertwee, but Moody would have been better.

According to the Telegraph obituary, he said,
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
Alastair Sim unsuccessfully sued him in 1959 in the High Court, claiming Moody had imitated Sim’s famous voice to sell baked beans. Sim claimed that as a result, when he dined out, he would be asked if he wanted Heinz baked beans. Fifteen years later they performed together in a West End play. What terms they were on while doing so the history does not relate.

He was diffident with women and lived with his mother, sister, brother-in-law and three nephews till he married at the age of 61. His wife survives him, with their six children.

It's interesting that he decided to marry late in life, because that is something that, playing Fagin, he had considered doing in his famous song, Reviewing the Situation.

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