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Wednesday, 29 December, 1999, 03:10 GMT
Lone Ranger star dies

lone ranger The Lone Ranger brought law and order to the West

Actor Clayton Moore, the masked man who rode to fame as The Lone Ranger, has died of a heart attack at the age of 85.

A spokesman for the West Hills Hospital in Los Angeles said Moore had been rushed to the hospital's emergency room on Tuesday and had died at 0920 PST (1720 GMT).

"Today, we've lost a part of America in the passing of Clayton Moore," said Johnny Grant, the honorary mayor of Hollywood, who helped unveil Moore's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1987.

"He was a great showman and a great human being."

'Hi-Yo Silver!'

Born in Chicago on 14 September, 1914, Moore worked in a circus trapeze act and as a model before heading to Hollywood, where he broke into movies as an extra in the late 1930s.

moore Moore said: "I'll wear the white hat the rest of my life"
He began playing The Lone Ranger in 1949 on the television version of the hit radio series that always began with Rossini's William Tell Overture and ended with a voice wondering: "Who Was That Masked Man?"

Moore appeared in all but a couple of seasons of the show, which he left in 1952 in a salary dispute. But he returned shortly afterwards and went on to appear in 169 episodes until the show closed in 1957.

The Lone Ranger, with his companion Tonto, rode through the West bringing law and order, delighting children along the way with his cry of "Hi-Yo Silver!"

Once I got the Lone Ranger role, I didn't want any other
Clayton Moore
The Ranger disguised himself because he was the sole survivor of a group of Texas Rangers who were ambushed and left for dead by a gang of outlaws.

Moore made frequent appearances as the masked man in the years following the programme.

"Once I got the Lone Ranger role, I didn't want any other," Moore told the Los Angeles Times in 1985. "I like playing the good guy."

As a child, he said, "I wanted to be either a cowboy or a policeman. As the Lone Ranger, I got to be both."

'A great American'

Moore was finally forced to take off the mask in 1979 when producers planning a movie version of the Lone Ranger obtained a court order against his use of the character.

Playing him made me a better person
Clayton Moore
Moore was reduced to doing personal appearances in wraparound sunglasses, and the court action brought him sympathetic publicity and an avalanche of support. In 1984, a court lifted the restraining order.

He was largely retired in recent years, and lived at his home in Calabasas. He and his late wife, former actress Sally Allen, had one daughter, Gwen.

Moore said in 1985: "I'll wear the white hat the rest of my life.

"The Lone Ranger is a great character, a great American. Playing him made me a better person."

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