CLAYTON MOORE Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Clayton Moore                                                                     
Born: 14 September 1914                                                                 
Died: 28 December 1999                                                                 
Clayton Moore (September 14, 1914 – December 28, 1999) was an American actor         
best known for playing the fictional western character The Lone Ranger.                 
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 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.                                 
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       
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       
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.                                   
Erroneous reports not withstanding, Clayton Moore's birthdate was September 14,         
1914, and he died December 28, 1999, from a heart attack. He is buried in the           
Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale.