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Friday, 15 June, 2001, 23:07 GMT 00:07 UK
Dudley Moore: Man of many talents
Dudley Moore
Dudley Moore's career has been truncated by illness
Dudley Moore was a musical prodigy who became better known as a comedian and was, briefly, one of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Born in the east London suburb of Dagenham in 1935, he suffered from a club foot which required much hospital treatment, and made him the butt of jokes from other children.

Finding refuge in music, he became a choirboy at the age of six, took up piano and violin and was playing the organ at church weddings at 14.

His humour was another useful self-defence mechanism, especially given his height - 5ft 2in.

Revue

He won a music scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford to study the organ - though he left university in 1958 an accomplished jazz pianist, performing with Johnny Dankworth and touring the USA with Vic Lewis.

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore
Pete and Dud created unique comic dialogues
On his return he met Peter Cook when he was asked to join Beyond The Fringe, a comedy revue at the Edinburgh Festival which also featured Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller.

Beyond the Fringe led to Moore and Cook's legendary 1960s BBC TV show Not Only - But Also, which regularly showcased Moore's piano as well as the brilliant dialogues which the pair patented.

Cook's harder and darker humour found its perfect foil in Moore's gentler whimsy and the match worked again in the 1970s when the pair produced a series of recordings as the foul-mouthed Derek and Clive.

Moore on piano
Moore went to Oxford to study music
In 1978 director Blake Edwards cast him in the lead role for the film 10 - playing a composer obsessed with finding the perfect woman - and the film rocketed both Moore and co-star Bo Derek to Hollywood stardom.

Arthur followed in 1981, in which he teamed up with Liza Minelli and Sir John Gielgud to play a wealthy, drunken playboy.

The film was a major hit - and turned out to be the high point of his film career.

Health scare

But in 1997 he had a serious health scare when he suffered a series of minor heart attacks, and it was found he had a hole in his heart.

At the same time Moore the pianist was finding his fingers were becoming less responsive, and his speech was becoming incoherent.

Dudley Moore
Drunk as a lord: Moore as Arthur
In 1999 he was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy - a rare and incurable disorder.

The star, who celebrated his 66th birthday on 16 April, recently hosted a gala birthday concert at New York's Carnegie Hall to raise money for Dudley Moore Research Fund for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.

Being made a CBE is a token of the great affection and respect in which he is held by the British public for his comedy and, perhaps more importantly for Moore, as a musician.


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17 Apr 01 | Entertainment
19 Nov 99 | Entertainment
04 Dec 00 | Entertainment
08 Feb 03 | Medical notes
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