Theatre News

Ron Moody, the original Fagin, dies aged 91

Moody was ‘singing until the end’ said his widow Therese

Ron Moody in 2010
Ron Moody in 2010
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

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

He died in hospital on Thursday having been ill for some time, his agent confirmed.

Moody's 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."

Moody as Fagin
Moody as Fagin

Moody first played Fagin in the original 1960 West End production of Oliver!, and subsequently reprised the role on Broadway and in the 1968 film version, for which he received an Oscar nomination.

He revisited the role in 2010 when he made a guest appearance in Cameron Mackintosh's West End revival, marking the show's 50th anniversary.

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

His screen credits included EastEnders, Disney's A Kid in King Arthur's Court and he said he regretted turning down the role of Doctor Who.

But it was as the skittish, glove-wearing gang master Fagin that he secured his place in the public imagination.