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Fagin role actor Ron Moody 'was singing to the end'

By Robert Dex

Published 12/06/2015

Ron Moody as Fagin in a reprise of the role in 1985
Ron Moody as Fagin in a reprise of the role in 1985

Actor Ron Moody, who will forever be associated with role of Fagin in Oliver!, has died aged 91.

The star, who was nominated for the best actor Oscar in 1968 for his performance in the Charles Dickens adaptation, died in hospital yesterday.

His widow Therese said: "He brought joy to his family and to the hearts of many and will be greatly missed. He was singing until the end."

His agent said Mr Moody, who died in hospital, had been ill for some time.

He was born Ronald Moodnick in north London and played the role of the master criminal in the stage version of the musical in the West End and on Broadway before making the film.

He had a lengthy career in TV and film, including an appearance on EastEnders, but was said to have turned down the role of Doctor Who.

Moody got his first taste of showbusiness aged 16 as a wages clerk at Elstree studios. He spent the war in the RAF before studying at the London School of Economics.

Years later, he recalled: "I went to the London School of Economics to study sociology and psychology on a serviceman's grant.

"While there, I got dragged into taking part in a student revue and ended up writing, and appearing in, a few sketches. In short, I got the stage bug.

"Soon after, I was discovered in an end-of-term show by two writers who put me in their stage revue, and I've never looked back."

He said: "I think I'm a straight actor who occasionally does musicals; most people think I'm an eccentric comedian. It's amazing how many years you can spend just sorting out something as simple and basic as that."

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