BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  Entertainment: Showbiz
Front Page 
UK Politics 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 23:11 GMT
Comedian Dudley Moore dies
Dudley Moore
In November Moore collected his CBE in a wheelchair
Dudley Moore, one of Britain's best-loved comedians, actors and musicians, has died aged 66.

He died at his home in New Jersey, his spokeswoman Michelle Bega said from Los Angeles.

"Moore was surrounded by friends, his nurse and medical aides at the time of his passing," she added.

Moore had been suffering from the degenerative brain condition Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.

Dud and Pete
Moore's partnership with Peter Cook created a comedy classic
He died of pneumonia, a complication of his condition, at 1100 Eastern Standard Time (1600 GMT).

Friends and colleagues paid tribute to the star, and chat show host Michael Parkinson remembered the comedian as "a superb musician, a bloody good comedian and a lovely man".

Film critic Barry Norman spoke of Moore's "tremendous personality", while Moore's long-time agent and friend, Lou Pitt, added: "His humour, his joy and his passion to make people laugh will be sorely and deeply missed."

Born into a working-class family in Dagenham, east London, his gift for music won him an organ scholarship to Oxford's Magdalen College.

Moore at the piano
Comedy may have obscured Moore's musical talent
But he gained attention for writing incidental music for the stage and TV, and performing in cabaret.

He left Oxford in 1958 as an accomplished jazz pianist, performing with Johnny Dankworth and touring the US for a year with the Vic Lewis band.

On his return he met the late Peter Cook and was asked to join Beyond The Fringe, a comedy revue at the Edinburgh Festival.

Also featuring Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller, the show ran for four years in London and New York after the festival finished.

Dudley Moore
Moore attended Cook's memorial in 1995
His partnership with the Peter Cook led to the creation of the classic comic characters Dud and Pete, comedy icons on both sides of the Atlantic.

Moore then went on to pursue a successful career in Hollywood, starring in a number of hit screen comedies, as well as a few less successful movies.

Most notably, he played alongside Bo Derek in the movie 10 in 1979.

His role as a hard-drinking millionaire in the 1981 film Arthur then won him an Oscar nomination.

Dudley Moore
Moore was "thrilled" with his CBE
But in the late 1990s Moore suffered from a number of illnesses and was fired from Barbra Streisand's film The Mirror Has Two Faces because he found he could not remember his lines.

Despite rumours of drug use, he was found to have developed the rare condition Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.

He told the public of his condition in September 1999, saying that his vision had become hazy, his walking was impaired and speech slurred.

He spoke of his frustrations at the disease, saying: "It's totally mysterious the way this illness attacks, and eats you up, and then spits you out.

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore
Moore was famed for his work with Cook
"There's always this feeling of why did it hit me? and I cannot make peace with it because I know I am going to die from it."

Moore said the affliction had robbed him of his greatest pleasure - his ability to play music.

In November 2001 Moore flew to the UK to be made a CBE by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in London.

The ailing star, who received his award in a wheelchair, had been honoured in the overseas and diplomatic Birthday Honours list in June of that year.


He leaves two sons, one from his second marriage, the other from his fourth.

His spokeswoman said funeral services were being arranged and that a memorial service would be planned for an unspecified date.

She asked that donations in his memory be made to two charities favoured by Moore - Music for All Seasons and the Dudley Moore Research Fund for PSP.

A tribute to Dudley Moore will be shown on BBC1 at 2300GMT on Saturday.

The BBC's David Willis
"He'll be best remembered for playing drunk millionaire Arthur"
British film director Michael Winner
"Your heart went out to him"
Television personality Michael Parkinson
"There was something very sad about Dudley"

Performing star



Picture gallery
Moore's life in pictures

See also:

16 Nov 01 | Showbiz
Dudley Moore receives CBE
04 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Dudley Moore talks of his "mystery disease"
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Showbiz stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Showbiz stories