These have been difficult times for actor-comedian Dudley Moore, but he does have one gloriously cheery evening awaiting him: On Monday, April 16, a host of famous friends will honor and celebrate the diminutive Englisher at no less a venue than Carnegie Hall. Julie Andrews (Moore's "10" co-star) and Michael Caine are serving as honorary chairs for the event.
For several years, Moore has been battling Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), an incurable, degenerative brain disorder that has affected his speech, mobility and — most sorrowfully for him — his ability to play the piano. As such, all proceeds for the April 16 benefit will go to two charities, Music for All Seasons and the Dudley Moore Research Fund for PSP.
Expected at the "Man of All Seasons" gala are Chevy Chase, Amy Irving, Mary Tyler Moore, Jill Eikenberry, Ann Reinking (Fosse), Barbara Walters, John Dankworth & Cleo Laine and Barbara Walters. John Cleese and Robin Williams have apparently taped video segments, and Monty Python's Eric Idle will join Saturday Night Live's Jimmy Fallon in recreating the one-legged Tarzan sketch Moore used to do with his late comic partner, Peter Cook. The cast of Broadway's Blast! will also be onhand to play Ravel's "Bolero." (Not only is it the opening number of their show, it's also the music most closely identified with Blake Edwards' film, "10").
Cook and Moore came to American attention as part of the "Beyond the Fringe" sketch troupe, which also featured Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett. Cook and Moore paired off for both commercial work (including the original version of "Bedazzled") and the more underground, four letter-word hijinks of "Derek and Clive."
Moore found his greatest acclaim in movies, with "10" and "Arthur" establishing him as an elfin leading man in romantic comedies. Less successful at the box office were such films as "Mickey and Maude" and "Wholly Moses," which ultimately led Moore to concentrate on his popular piano concert career, until PSP took away his ability to play at that level. For tickets and information the Dudley Moore event at Carnegie Hall: West 57th Street, call (212) 247-7800.
— By David Lefkowitz