Dudley MOORE (1935-2002)

Dudley Moore This Is Your Life
  • A rare two-part edition broadcast over consecutive weeks

programme details...

  • Edition No: 725 / 726
  • Subject No: second timer
  • Broadcast date: Wed 4 Mar 1987
  • Broadcast date: Wed 11 Mar 1987
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Tue 17 Feb 1987
  • Venue: ABC Studios, Hollywood
  • Series: 27
  • Edition: 21 - 22
  • Code name: Arthur

on the guest list...

  • Ted Ross
  • Brogan Lane - partner
  • Chevy Chase
  • Barbara - sister
  • John Dankworth
  • Cleo Laine
  • Ernest Fleischman
  • musicians from the Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Henry Mancini
  • Archie Moore
  • Jackie Collins
  • Tony Bill
  • Robin Williams
  • Peter Cork
  • Joan Rivers
  • Sammy Cahn
  • Ray Brown
  • Bob Hope
  • Filmed tributes:
  • Prof Geoffrey Gray
  • Bill Webb
  • Helen Pollard
  • Chris Thomas
  • Peter Cook
  • Kenny Rogers
  • Itzhak Perlman
  • Robert Mann
  • Mary Steenburgen

production team...

  • Researcher: Caroline Blackadder
  • Writer: Roy Bottomley
  • Directors: Terry Yarwood, Michael D Kent
  • Associate Producer: Brian Klein
  • Producer: Malcolm Morris
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...

Dudley Moore

first tribute

The Glamorous Life

Hollywood in the spotlight

Life Second Time Around

surprised again!

Eamonn Andrews

a brief biography

A Life Remembered

tributes to the original presenter


the show's fifty year history

Jackie Collins

John Dankworth

Bob Hope

Cleo Laine

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Screenshots of Dudley Moore This Is Your Life and a rare audience ticket from the show's recording

Dudley Moore's biography

Barbra Paskin recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in her book, Dudley Moore The Authorised Biography...

In February 1987 Dudley was playing jazz at his restaurant when, to his surprise, Bo Derek walked in and joined him on the piano stool. At that moment Eamonn Andrews appeared from a side door and announced to Dudley the familiar words 'This is your life.' It was déjà vu to Dudley, who had already heard those words once before, in 1973. He was now one of a small elite group to be handed their life twice.

Ushered over to ABC's television studios in Hollywood by Arthur chauffeur Ted Ross, he was reunited in front of a live audience with his sister Barbara, who had flown in from England, and Peter Cork, his former music tutor. Brogan was there, of course, and so were Joan Rivers, Jackie Collins, Tony Bill and Robin Williams. While Cleo Laine, John Dankworth, Sammy Cahn and Henry Mancini paid tribute to Dudley's jazz ability, Robert Mann, Itzhak Perlman and members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic appeared as testimonial to his classical talents, and Peter Cook turned up via satellite.

Dudley took over the piano, with Ray Brown on bass and John Dankworth on sax, and Chevy Chase joined him for a few jazzy moments.

The show culminated with Bob Hope dubbing him 'Sir Dudley of Dagenham', for which Hope commanded him to kneel, then observed with a wry laugh worthy of Peter Cook, 'It doesn't make a hell of a lot of difference, does it!'

Shown in Britain the following month, the programme was transmitted as a rare two-parter.

Dudley Moore's biography

William Cook recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, One Leg Too Few - The Adventures of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore...

Later that year, when Dudley was the surprise subject of This Is Your Life - a rare return performance, filmed this time in America - Peter contributed a courteous tribute via satellite. It was a magnanimous gesture, after Dudley's first appearance on the programme had scuppered the dress rehearsal of Behind The Fridge. The guest list for the show underlined how far the focus of Dudley's life had shifted. When Dudley first appeared on This Is Your Life in 1973, most of the guests had been British. In 1987, they were mainly American: Chevy Chase, Bo Derek Kenny Rogers, Robin Williams… It was another indication that Dudley had left Britain (and Peter) far behind.

with reference to Peter Cork (Dudley Moore's former music tutor):

When Dudley went to America, he and Peter Cork inevitably saw less of one another, but they became pen pals instead. It was the height of Dudley's fame. Peter was amazed that he found time to write to him at all, but Dudley wrote frequent lengthy letters - thoughtful and reflective, the private, not the public, man. When Dudley appeared on This Is Your Life in Los Angeles, Peter was flown out there to appear on the show alongside stars like Bo Derek. He sat next to Jackie Collins in the studio. He had to follow Robin Williams. Williams was supposed to do five minutes. 'He just went on and on and on,' says Peter. 'He went on for well over a quarter of an hour. I was standing behind the curtain?' Eventually, Williams finished and Peter came on and said his piece. Dudley was delighted to see him. He gave his old teacher a big hug. 'The next day, I spent all day with Dudley. That was lovely.' They went to Dudley's home, and his restaurant. He met Brogan Lane, Dudley's third wife. 'I liked her immensely. I think she really cared for him.'

with reference to Barbara (Dudley Moore's sister):

Dudley stayed in touch, but inevitably the remainder of their relationship was played out at long distance. Barbara met his first three wives - Suzy, Tuesday and Brogan - but not his fourth wife, Nicole. 'I saw the premiere of Arthur in 1981 and about a fortnight after that my mother died,' she says. 'I preferred watching him on TV rather than in films.' In 1987 she was flown to LA to appear on This Is Your Life with Dudley. 'Unfortunately it wasn't a direct flight. First stop was Chicago, then St Louis, and I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got to Los Angeles. But it was a lovely evening!'

Roy Bottomley This Is Your Life book

Scriptwriter Roy Bottomley recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, This Is Your Life: The Story of Television's Famous Big Red Book...

Hollywood 'sex thimble' Dudley Moore couldn't have been more surprised when former World Light Heavyweight Champion Archie Moore walked on the Life set at ABC studios in Hollywood in 1987.

In fact, when Eamonn Andrews suggested his name you could have put us all down for the count. When I went to talk over my script with Eamonn in his suite at the Beverley Wilshire, he couldn't wait to tell me his 'great, great idea'.

This, it turned out, was to set our researchers to finding any British expatriates with the name of Moore, and put them in the audience, so Eamonn could finish by saying, 'And one other very special member of the Moore clan whom you've also never met but who, at one time, conquered England as you've conquered America … yes, for ten years Light Heavyweight Champion of the World, the great Archie Moore.'

The quizzical expressions on the faces of the team at this suggestion could not dampen Eamonn's enthusiasm. We all knew he would seize any opportunity to get a fighter on any programme.

Expatriate Moores were thin on the ground, and the great Archie himself was hardly high profile now. Two Moores were found and brought, puzzled, to the studio. Eamonn beamed with pleasure when told we had located Archie, and he would be joining us.

Said Eamonn on the programme: 'Archie, great to have you with us.'

Replied Archie: 'And great for me to know I am a long lost relation of the great Dudley Moore.' (He wasn't.)

Whereupon the ex-prizefighter picked up the former Oxford music scholar and said, 'No wonder they call you "Cuddly Dudley".'

Eamonn: 'Thank you, the great Archie Moore.'

What really puzzled us was that this programme – unlike some, when we discovered subjects may not be quite as popular as their public image – was choc-a-bloc with star names. Archie, we didn't need.

Traffic-stopping Bo Derek, Dudley's co-star in 10, was at the pick-up. Dudley, as he often did, was tickling the ivories at his restaurant in Market Street, Venice Beach, not knowing we had hidden Bo, and Eamonn, in the kitchen staff loo. Keeping watch from one of the tables was Dudley's glamorous wife, Brogan Lane.

A Hollywood actress who shall remain nameless asked if anyone had any 'coke' and looked on in astonishment when Eamonn, ever the gentleman, leapt to his feet to bring her a coca-cola from the bar.

'Not that coke, silly,' she said, whereupon Eamonn produced a diet coke.

We even had a special chauffeur – Ted Ross, from Dudley's Arthur films. Somehow we had all convinced ourselves he was the same 'chauffeur' who had appeared with Paul Hogan in Crocodile Dundee.

Only when he flew in first class from New York to stay at the Beverley Wilshire – all at our expense – did we discover he had been nowhere near that film. Alas, word did not reach Eamonn on this, so that when Ted Ross turned up for rehearsal, Eamonn greeted the bemused actor with, 'Love your performance in Crocodile Dundee.' When the sturdily built Mr Ross snarled at Eamonn, 'The next guy who says that...', we headed for the Hollywood hills.

Our grand finale was lost when Blake Edwards phoned to say he and his wife, Julie Andrews, would not be with us. Julie had hurt her back.

It was time to call on old pals, and I came up with an idea for Bob Hope which Eamonn loved. Fortunately, so did Bob. 'A kinda cute little gag,' said the great comedian.

Bob walked on with a golf club. 'I command you to kneel,' said Bob, tapping the club on Dudley's shoulders. 'On behalf of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, President Reagan and a lot of other comedians, I dub you Sir Dudley of Dagenham.'

He topped a line-up which included (as well as Archie Moore) Joan Rivers, Robin Williams, Chevy Chase, members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Dudley had played the Hollywood Bowl), Henry Mancini, Sammy Cahn, John Dankworth and Cleo Laine. Dudley joined Sammy, Johnny and Cleo in a jam session on set.

Malcolm Morris biography

Producer Malcolm Morris recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, This Is My Life...

Chevy Chase came on to Dudley's programme and almost immediately tripped over a step on the set and fell heavily. He got a big laugh but I was worried and stood by with the studio nurse after the programme to see whether he was hurt after such a bad fall.

He looked at me with great patience and said, 'That's what I do, I'm OK!'

Robin Williams also came on Dudley's programme. He entered, and ignoring Dudley, stared in disbelief at Eamonn's suit. He said that he had never seen anything like it before and asked Eamonn where he got it. 'I know,' he said, 'there's a sale on at K Mart.'

He got an enormous laugh but Eamonn told me afterwards that he was an inch away from hitting him.

Eamonn Andrews' autobiography

Eamonn Andrews recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, For Ever and Ever, Eamonn...

The case was made again and again at our meetings that Dudley Moore, who had been a subject for the programme fifteen years before, had had a 'second' life – the life of a Hollywood star, too big to be even bothered by the 'Sex Thimble' epithet.

It was all very convincing, but it was also all very expensive. So we had to find a second target that would tickle the British fancy. It was a godsend to us now that Christopher Cazenove had made it big in one of the biggest soaps, Dynasty; and, on top of that, had a fascinating, up-beat, up-market background not given to many actors.

We decided to go for broke. Indeed, at one stage, Thames Television, when they saw the bills coming in, reckoned they were the ones that were going for broke. However, they were very understanding and gave us the kind of support without which you cannot undertake shows like this. You've got to get in there confidently, particularly in America.

Preliminary research was vital, tough and difficult. It included Malcolm, our producer, bargaining with American studios and hotels – and a hundred and one other facilities needed to take care of the high-powered technicians, production staff, messengers, writers, fixers, leg-men and, of course, guests. On-the-spot work was chased in the early stages by Brian Klein and Caroline Blackadder, where I guess some of the hardest tasks were to persuade some of those gum-chewing Hollywood cynics that secrecy was top priority; that if either of our two target names discovered we were after them, we would cancel the show whatever the cost. Fortunately, by now, we had so many American stars coming on the shows that our integrity was now being accepted by most.

'Crazy, but OK, if that's the way you want it,' was not an uncommon reaction.

Series 27 subjects

Bill Waddington | Robert Foote | Carl Davis | Gorden Kaye | Teddy Johnson and Pearl Carr | Monty Fresco | Joe Johnson
Susan George | Bill Ward | Rachel Kempson | Gary Wilmot | Cliff Michelmore and Jean Metcalfe | Liz Hobbs | Jack Berg
Derek Scott | Patricia Hodge | Harry Friend | Norman Wisdom | Denis Compton | Christopher Cazenove | Dudley Moore
Terry Marsh | David Jacobs | William Rushton | Gabrielle Drake