Ron Moody

Active - 1937 - 2005  |   Born - Jan 8, 1924   |   Died - Jun 11, 2015   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Smirking, wiry-nosed British character actor Ron Moody matriculated from standup comic to one of the most delightfully despicable "professional villains" in show business. The son of a plasterer, Moody didn't embark on his acting career until he was 29; before that, he'd planned to become either an economist or sociologist. After plenty of stage and TV work as an improvisational humorist, Moody made his film debut in 1957; he attained stardom in 1959 when he was selected to head the cast of the London company of Leonard Bernstein's Candide. He was best known to American audiences of the 1960s through his tongue-in-cheek villainous portrayals on such British TV series as The Avengers. Moody went on to earn an Academy Award nomination for his bravura performance as Fagin (a character that he'd played for years on the London stage) in Oliver! (1968); two years later, he gave an equally good showing as Uriah Heep in the all-star British TV production of David Copperfield. In 1980, Moody starred in the American TV series Nobody's Perfect as bumbling Clouseau-like detective Roger Hart. He continued to act well into older age, appearing in films like A Kid in King Arthur's Court and had a run on the British soap Eastenders. Despite his frequent on-screen perfidy, Ron Moody remained a comedian at heart -- as well as a staunch advocate of lessening the violence quotient in action films. Moody also continued to associate with the role that earned him his most acclaim, appearing at reunions and in documentaries for Oliver!, including 2004 appearance for a British series, where, at age 80, he performed a dance from the film. Moody died in 2015, at age 91.

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