Dudley Moore's career spanned four decades, both in music and in film. His first love was music, as he began studying piano at the age of six, and by age 14 was playing organ at weddings. Music served as a refuge for Moore, who was teased as a child because he had a club foot, which was ultimately corrected.
He eventually won a music scholarship to study organ at Magdalen College at Oxford University. Following his graduation, and by then an accomplished jazz pianist he toured the U.S. with Vic Lewis.
Due to his stature of 5 feet, 2 1/2 inches tall, Moore also developed a strong sense of humor which he perfected when he was recruited by British satirist Peter Cook to join the four-man comedy revue, Beyond the Fringe, somewhat like Monty Python. After playing in London and on Broadway, Moore and Cook went on to star in their own sketch comedy series, "Not Only...But Also." Moore was also able to showcase his piano playing.
The two produced a series of recordings as the foul-mouthed alter egos Derek and Clive. They teamed up several times on the big screen, appearing together in The Wrong Box in 1966 and Bedazzled in 1967.
Upon moving to Hollywood in the 1970s, Moore made it big on his own. He had a scene-stealing role in the 1978 comedy Foul Play. The same year, Blake Edwards cast him in 10, in which Moore played a composer going through a midlife crisis who considers throwing away everything he's ever worked for to be with the woman of his dreams (Bo Derek.)
Moore then took on his biggest role of his career, the intoxicated, child-like billionaire in Arthur, costarring Liza Minnelli. He earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in 1981 for his role in Arthur.
"He could make the world laugh," Minnelli said following his death on March 27, 2002 at the age of 66.
Chase remembered Moore as "one of the world's greatest comedians and truly a world-pianist."
Moore was married four times--to Suzy Kendall in 1958; Tuesday Weld in 1975; Brogan Lane in 1988 and Nicole Rothschild in 1994. He had two sons: Patrick (with Weld) and Nicholas (with Rothschild).
Over the last few years prior to his death, Moore suffered four strokes in addition to undergoing open-heart surgery in 1999. Divorced from his fourth wife in 1998, Moore spent his final days in New Jersey, where he was looked after by friends. "It's totally mysterious the way this illness attacks, and eats you up, and then spits you out," he told the BBC in what was his last interview.
It broke his heart and brought him to tears that he was physically unable to play his piano anymore due to his illness.