Ron Moody, Original Fagin From Oliver!, Dies at 91

Moody played the role on the West End, Broadway, and on-screen.

Ron Moody as Fagin in the 1968 film Oliver!
Ron Moody as Fagin in the 1968 film Oliver!

Ron Moody, who originated the role of Fagin in Lionel Bart's musical Oliver!, has died. He was 91.

Born Ronald Moodnick in 1924, Moody started his career as an improvisational comedian. He subsequently appeared in multiple stage productions, including Candide, Sherlock Holmes — The Musical, Comedians, and his one man show Ron Moody: Move Along… Sideways.

But it was the role of Fagin for which he was best known, in Bart's musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist. Moody first played Fagin in the original 1960 West End production of Oliver!, and later reprised his role in the 1968 film version, for which he received an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe Award. He played the role on Broadway in 1984, receiving a Tony nomination along the way. But the production, which costarred Patti LuPone as Nancy, played only 17 performances.

His many screen credits included the British soap opera EastEnders, Disney's A Kid in King Arthur's Court, and Mel Brooks' The Twelve Chairs, among others. He famously declined the title role in the Doctor Who series in 1969.

Moody is survived by his wife, Therese Blackbourn, and their six children.

Watch Moody in his famous performance, singing "Reviewing the Situation," below: