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Clayton Moore

Clayton Moore

"The Lone Ranger"

D.O.B.: September 14, 1914 (Chicago, IL)

D.O.D.: December 28, 1999 (Los Angeles, CA)

Cause of Death: Heart attack

Location: Forest Lawn Glendale; Everlasting Peace, # 5492

Biographical Notes:

The man behind the mask was originally a trapeze artist and model who came to acting through stunt work.

Clayton, born Jack Carlton Moore on September 14, 1914 in Chicago, changed his name when he moved to Hollywood.

When the radio program "The Lone Ranger" was transplanted to television in 1949 on the brand new ABC network, Moore took the role of his life

Moore played the Lone Ranger from 1949 to 1951, riding his trusty horse Silver and accompanied by his faithful American-Indian friend Tonto as the pair brought law and order to the Old West in every half-hour episode.

The show was ABC's biggest hit for a time in the early '50s, when the fledgling network was far overshadowed by CBS and NBC.

Fans loved the show's trademarks: the opening theme, from "The William Tell Overture"; the Ranger's horse, Silver, described by the show's announcer as "a fiery horse with the speed of light"; Tonto's name for the Ranger, "kemo sabe"; the silver bullets; the Ranger's habits of never shooting to kill and never removing his mask, unless the plot had him donning some other disguise.

Even after the cancellation, Moore continued to wear a mask in public appearances until 1979, when producers of a new film version of "The Lone Ranger" won a court order forcing him to replace his mask with a pair of wraparound sunglasses.

"Once I got the Lone Ranger role, I didn't want any other," Moore said in a 1985 Los Angeles Times interview. "I like playing the good guy." He said that as a child, "I wanted to be either a cowboy or a policeman. As the Lone Ranger, I got to be both."

But Moore had his revenge. The 1981 movie, entitled "The Legend of the Lone Ranger" and starring Klinton Spilsbury in the mask, was a resounding flop. In 1984, a court lifted the restraining order.

At the opening of a museum honoring his fellow screen cowboy, Gene Autry, Moore talked about the importance of the heroes of the Old West, real and otherwise.

"It's the good guy in the white hat, fair play and honesty," Moore said. "The settling of the Old West. Don't forget the cowboys, the trials and tribulations they went through. What we have now is because of our ancestors and pioneers."

Appeared in:

"The Lone Ranger and The Lost City of Gold" (1958)

"The Lone ranger" (1956)

"Barbed Wire" (1952)

 

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