Major Causes of Death: Accidental | Cancer | Drug | Heart Attack | Heart Failure | Lung | Natural Causes | Suicide

Heart_Attack

Clayton Moore - The Lone Ranger

Lone RangerClayton Moore
Buy from Amazon.com: Lone Ranger DVDs

Lone Ranger DeathClayton Moore (September 14, 1914 – December 28, 1999) was an American actor best known for playing the fictional western character The Lone Ranger.

Clayton Moore's Death
Clayton Moore died December 28, 1999, from a heart attack.
Clayton Moore was 85 years old at the time of his death. He is buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

Clayton Moore Biography
Born as Jack Carlton Moore in Chicago, Illinois, Moore was a circus acrobat as a boy, then later enjoyed a successful career as a John Robert Powers model. Moving to Hollywood in the late 1930s, he began working as a stunt man and bit player between modeling jobs. According to his autobiography, around 1940 Hollywood producer Edward Small convinced him to adopt the stage name "Clayton" Moore. He was an occasional player in B westerns and Republic Studio cliffhangers, ultimately starring in more such films than serial hero Buster Crabbe. His big break came in 1949, when George Trendle spotted him in "The Ghost of Zorro." As producer of the radio show and creator of "The Lone Ranger" character along with writer Fran Striker, Trendle was about to launch the masked man in the new medium of television. Moore was cast on sight.

Lone Ranger Opening

Clayton Moore's Biography continues

Lone RangerClayton Moore
Buy from Amazon.com: Lone Ranger DVDs  

Moore then faced the challenge of training his voice to sound like the radio version of The Lone Ranger, which had then been on the air since 1933, and succeeded in lowering his already distinctive baritone even further. With the first notes of Rossini's stirring "William Tell Overture" and announcer Fred Foy's, "Return with us now, to those thrilling days of yesteryear...", Moore and co-star Jay Silverheels in the role of Tonto made television history as the first western written specifically for that medium. The Lone Ranger soon became the highest-rated program to that point on the fledgling ABC network and its first true "hit", earning an Emmy nomination in 1950.

After two successful years, which presented a new episode every week, 52 weeks a year, Moore had a pay dispute and left the series. As "Clay Moore," he made a few more westerns and serials, sometimes playing the villain. The public didn't really accept the new Lone Ranger, actor John Hart, so the owners of the program relented and rehired Moore at his requested salary. He stayed with the program until it ended first-run production in 1957. He and Jay Silverheels also starred in two feature-length "Lone Ranger" motion pictures.

After completion of the second feature, "The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold" in 1956, Moore embarked on what eventually became 40 years of personal appearances, TV guest spots, and classic commercials as the legendary masked man. Silverheels joined him for occasional appearances during the early 1960s, and throughout his career Moore always expressed his tremendous respect and love for Silverheels.

In 1979, the owner of the Ranger character, Jack Wrather, obtained a court order prohibiting Moore from making future appearances as The Lone Ranger. Wrather anticipated making a new film version of the story, and did not want the value of the character being undercut by Moore's appearances, nor anyone to think that the 65-year-old Moore would be playing the role in the new picture. This move proved to be a public relations disaster of the first order. Moore responded by changing his costume slightly and replacing the mask with similar-looking wraparound sunglasses, and then counter-sued Wrather. He eventually won the suit, and was able to resume his appearances in costume, which he continued to do until shortly before his death. For a time he worked in publicity tie-ins with the Texas Rangers baseball team.

Some have attributed the incredible failure of Wrather's picture, finally released in 1981 as The Legend of the Lone Ranger, to this move. In reality, it was only one of the picture's many problems (including Klinton Spilsbury's performance in the title role, reportedly so inept that his dialogue was re-recorded by James Keach). However, none of the subsequent remakes of the fictional western hero caught the public's imagination nor earned their respect as did the original.

Moore often was quoted as saying he had "fallen in love with the Lone Ranger character" and strove in his personal life to take The Lone Ranger Creed to heart. This, coupled with his public fight to retain the right to wear the mask, ultimately elevated him in the public's eyes to an American folk icon. In this regard, he was much like another cowboy star, William Boyd, who nurtured the Hopalong Cassidy character. Moore was so identified with the masked man that he is the only person on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as of 2006, to have his character's name along with his on the star, which reads, "Clayton Moore — The Lone Ranger". He was inducted into the Stuntman's Hall of Fame in 1982 and in 1990 was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

In keeping with the nature of the Ranger character, Moore chose to protect the Ranger's identity at all times and is perhaps the only actor whose full face is largely unknown to the public. It was never shown in the TV series, although occasionally he would don a disguise and affect an accent, revealing the upper half of his face in the process. However, there is no shortage of photos of Moore unmasked, including many in his autobiography. His many fans, however, could easily recognize him by his distinctive voice.

-

Syndicate content