Ron Moody, who played Fagin in the hit movie version of Oliver!, has passed away at the age of 91, his family has confirmed. "He brought joy to his family and to the hearts of many and will be greatly missed," his widow Therese said. "He was singing until the end."
The British actor was best known for his role in the 1968 Charles Dickens musical adaptation, for which he received an Oscar nomination and won a Golden Globe.
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British actor Ron Moody has passed away at the age of 91
He had a lengthy career in both film and TV; he starred in several movies, including playing Merlin in Disney's A Kid In King Arthur's Court, and appeared in EastEnders as Edwin Caldecott, a nemesis of Jim Branning. The star previously said his biggest regret was turning down the chance to play one of the incarnations of The Doctor in Doctor Who.
Ron was born Ronald Moodnick in Tottenham in January 1924. With original aspirations to become an economist, he didn't take up acting seriously until his late 20s. He played the role of master criminal Fagin in the stage version of Lionel Bart's musical in the West End and on Broadway before getting his big break in the film adaptation.
"Fate destined me to play Fagin," he later said. "It was the part of a lifetime."
Ron Moody won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Fagin in the 1968 film Oliver!
The film also starred Oliver Reed as Bill Sykes and Harry Secombe as Mr Bumble, with young unknown Mark Lester playing the orphan Oliver, and Jack Wild starring as the Artful Dodger. It was nominated for 11 Oscars and won six, including best film and best director for Carol Reed.
Speaking to the Guardian in 2012 about the making of the movie, Ron said "that summer of 1967 was one of the happiest times of my life”.
"My proudest moment was the number Reviewing The Situation," he said. "I suspect that, because I gave my all to the role. And because I was working with such a fine team of people, it inhibited my future career.
"I turned down quite a few offers afterwards because I thought the people didn't come close to those I'd worked with on Oliver! – which in retrospect was a mistake."
Ron is survived by his widow Therese and their six children.