By Avital Mendelsohn
The Jewish actor Ron Moody – known and loved by millions as Fagin in the film version of Oliver! – has died.
Family of the Golden Globe winner said he passed away on Thursday morning, aged 91.
Tottenham native Moody – who was born Ronald Moodnick to Eastern European immigrants and changed his name in 1930 – had remained proud of his identity, saying: “I’m 100% Jewish – totally kosher!”.
Despite finding fame for his portrayal of the miserly leader of the gang of pickpockets in the film of Dickens’ novel, Moody studied at the London School of Economics, where he had trained to become a sociologist, and during World War II he served as a radar technician in the RAF.
He had a long career in theatrical shows and in film and TV: staring in children’s television series including The Animals of Farthing Wood and Noah’s Island, reuniting with former Oliver! co-star Jack Wild, who played The Artful Dodger, in Flight of the Doves, and turning down the role of Doctor Who.
Moody is survived by his widow Therese Blackburn, a Pilates teacher he married in 1985, and their six children.