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Tuesday, June 9, 1998 Published at 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK


Health fears for Dudley Moore

Dudley Moore at the funeral of his comedy partner Peter Cook

A former wife of comedian and filmstar Dudley Moore has denied reports that he has "lost the will to live".

Mr Moore's estranged wife, Nicole Rothschild, is reported to have told an American television show that he was "waiting to die". Mr Moore, 63, has been troubled by illness for sometime.

He was believed to have been staying in London with his former wife Suzy Kendall, but a note attached to the door of her house says that Dudley Moore is not there.

It adds that when she and Mr Moore spoke a few days ago he "was not dying or wanting to die". The statement was also faxed to the London Evening Standard.

Ms Rothschild, 34, is Dudley Moore's fourth wife. They married in 1994, but she subsequently accused him of assault and claimed in a lawsuit he spent more than 6,000 a month on drugs and prostitutes. At the time he said the allegations had wrecked his career.

Actress Prunella Scales, who was at Oxford with Mr Moore, said she was very concerned about his health, and would try to get in touch with him.

A varied career and a colourful private life

Dudley Moore won an organ scholarship to Oxford and was a brilliant pianist, but while he has retained his interest in music, comedy is the source of his fame.

He performed alongside Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett in the early 1960s in the hugely influential comedy series Beyond The Fringe.

His reputation was cemented when he and the late Peter Cook formed a comedy double act and he went on to a successful film career, including Arthur and 10.

The 5'2" star's domestic life has often been in the public eye - he was linked with many beautiful women, and was known as the "sex thimble" - a reference to his diminutive stature and his undeniable appeal for women.

Despite his talent and worldly success, however, he has been frequently plagued by anxiety and depression.

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