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Actor Dudley Moore dies at 66

Announced his diagnosis of PSP in 1999

Actor Dudley Moore dies at 66

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- British comedian and actor Dudley Moore has died at age 66 at his home in the United States after a long illness.

Moore, was best known for his comic performance as a drunk millionaire in the 1981 film "Arthur" and his role as a composer grappling with a midlife crisis in the 1979 hit "10."

He died in New Jersey of pneumonia as a complication of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), his publicist said.

Michelle Bega said the actor died at 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT) on Wednesday. Funeral arrangements are pending and a memorial service is planned, she said.

Progressive supranuclear palsy attacks brain cells and impairs mental and motor functions.

CNN's Sherri Sylvester looks back at the life and career of Dudley Moore (March 27)

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He was "Dud" to many British fans, who knew Dudley Moore's work and comedy  better from his early "Dud and Pete" partnership with Peter Cook than from the films that would introduce him to American audiences.
Britain pays tribute to Dudley Moore Special Report: Dudley Moore Dudley Moore, 1935-2002 
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.
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.

Moore was last seen in public in Britain in November when he travelled to London to receive a honor from Queen Elizabeth II.

The frail-looking star of "10" and "Arthur" remained seated in a wheelchair as he received his CBE (Commander of the British Empire) from Prince Charles.

Moore's illness robbed him of his speech and rendered him virtually immobile.

Announcing his illness in 1999, he said: "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 in a later interview for the BBC he was less casual. He said, "It's totally mysterious the way this illness attacks and eats you up, and then spits you out.

"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.

"Yes I feel angry, that's true -- to be reduced to this insignificant version of myself is overpowering."

'Wonderful chap'

One of the first tributes was paid by British film director Michael Winner who said Moore will be best remembered around the world for "10" and "Arthur" and in the United Kingdom for his partnership with Peter Cook.

Winner told Sky News that the partnership "changed the whole attitude to comedy in Great Britain. He was the lovable one of the two, he was the funny one and the sweet one but with immense skill as well.

"He was not unlike the character he played in some of his films on occasion. But he was just a wonderful chap. I shall miss him very much."

Chat show host Michael Parkinson, who interviewed Moore a number of times, paid tribute to "a bloody good comedian and a lovely man."

"He said he and Cook were "a great comedy duo" but said Moore also had "a little boy lost quality."

"He was the most charming of men and delightful company, a superb musician, a bloody good comedian and a lovely man."

Tony, Grammy, Globes

At the time he was honored in November at Buckingham -- his last public appearance -- Moore had lost his ability to speak.
At the time he was honored in November at Buckingham -- his last public appearance -- Moore had lost his ability to speak.  

In a career spanning more than 30 years, Moore won Tony awards, a Grammy, two Golden Globes, as well as an Oscar nomination.

He set up the Dudley Moore Research Fund, dedicated to finding a cure for PSP and the charity Music for All Seasons, which takes live music into hospitals, homes for the elderly and prisons.

Moore was a musical prodigy as a child and won a music scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford, to study the organ.

He left university an accomplished jazz pianist and performed widely before finding fame with "Beyond The Fringe," a comedy revue with Cook, Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett.

His collaboration with Cook on the legendary TV shows "Not Only -- But Also" and "Derek and Clive" paved the way for Moore's Hollywood career as an unlikely romantic leads.

He married four times -- to actresses Suzy Kendall, Tuesday Weld, Brogan Lane and Nicole Rothschild -- and had two sons.


• Royal honor for Dudley Moore
November 16, 2001

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