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Dud's last 'Goodbye'

Dudley Moore's career spanned film, television and music.
Dudley Moore's career spanned film, television and music.  

LONDON (CNN) -- Dudley Moore was a pint-size comic who achieved world-wide stardom for his 1960s partnership with the late Peter Cook and a brief career as one of Hollywood's most unlikely leading men.

The 5-foot-2-inch star's bumbling, amiable and very British image took Hollywood by storm in the late 1970s and early 1980s and turned him into a multimillionaire.

In a career spanning more than 30 years, Moore won Tony awards (1963, 1974), a Grammy (1974), two Golden Globes (1982, 1985) and an Oscar nomination (1982).

In the 1960s, his hilarious "Dud and Pete" partnership with Peter Cook made them both hot properties in the show-business world on both sides of the Atlantic.

Dudley Moore was one of the most visible musical and cinematic stars in the business. Click here for an interactive gallery  of highlights from his career.
From "Beyond the Fringe" in 1964 on TV to what was probably his most famous effort, "Arthur" in 1981, Dudley Moore's career  was rich, varied and busy.
He had suffered the Parkinson's-like PSP for years. Dudley Moore died Wednesday of pneumonia  as a complication of progressive supranuclear palsy.

They became a cult act as cloth-capped downbeat Londoners who sat for hours discussing, deadpan, the meaning of life. One of their best-remembered items was a manic version of the song "Goodbye."

Moore was also a gifted and dedicated pianist who gave concerts in many parts of the United States. He once said that his ambition was to play the piano better. The piano was, he often said, his best way of expressing himself.

In 1979, he became an instant hit in director Blake Edwards' comedy "10," with Bo Derek.

He drew his best-actor Oscar nomination for his work as the hard-drinking millionaire title character in Steve Gordon's 1981 film "Arthur."

In his heyday, Moore starred in numerous successful Hollywood and British films, including "The Wrong Box" (1967); "Bedazzled" (1967); "Monte Carlo Or Bust" (1969); "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1978); "Unfaithfully Yours" (1984); "Micki + Maude" (1984); "Santa Clause: The Movie" (1985); "Crazy People" (1990); and "Arthur 2: On The Rocks" (1988). And he appeared on Broadway, in the West End and in Royal Command performances.

Onset of illness

But in the 1980s, Moore suffered several illnesses. He underwent open-heart surgery and suffered a series of strokes. He was diagnosed with a degenerative brain problem, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP).

By this time his film career had effectively ground to a halt and he was released from Barbra Streisand's film "The Mirror Has Two Faces" because he was having trouble memorizing his lines. Losing the role, he said, was devastating.

As his box-office appeal began to wane, the man who had been dubbed by some a British Woody Allen turned to other projects.

In Great Britain, he appeared in a series of TV commercials for supermarket giant Tesco.

He married four times, always to beautiful women taller than him. In 1968, he married the already once-divorced model and actress, Suzy Kendall. They parted in 1972. Then came U.S. actress Tuesday Weld in 1975. In 1988, he married actress Brogan Lane, a woman he'd once described as "an amazing vision." His final marriage came in 1994 to Nicole Rothschild.

Speaking out

Moore was honoured by Britain's Queen Elizabeth at London's Buckingham Palace in November
Moore was honoured by Britain's Queen Elizabeth at London's Buckingham Palace in November  

In 1999 Moore made his condition public, pointing out that his vision had become hazy, his walking was impaired and speech slurred. Moore had seen his prowess on the piano keyboard slowly slip away.

Displaying the humor he was famous for, he said in a statement, "I understand that one person in 100,000 suffers from the disease and I am also aware that there are 100,000 members of my union, the Screen Actors Guild, who are working every day.

"I think, therefore, it is in some way considerate of me that I have taken on the disease for myself, thus protecting the remaining 99,999 members from this fate."

But he was also realistic about the progressive effects of the disease. In a TV interview, Moore said, "I am trapped in this body, and there is nothing I can do about it."


• Actor Dudley Moore, dead at 66
March 27, 2002
• Royal honor for Dudley Moore
November 16, 2001

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