Dudley Moore, the multi-talented comedian and musician who starred In Beyond The Fringe before becoming an unlikely Hollywood film star, died on Wednesday (Mar 27) after a long battle against illness.

Sixty six year old Moore died of pneumonia as a complication of supranuclear palsy.

A diminutive man, Moore was renowned for his affinity for tall women - usually blond - and was married and divorced five times.

The son of a working class railway electrician from Dagenham, Essex, he won a musical scholarship to Oxford University.

His climb to prominence began in the early 1960s with Beyond The Fringe, a comic revue he created with three other performers: Peter Cook, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller.

The revue led to offers of TV work, most notably the classic three series BBC show Not Only'But Also, made with Peter Cook. Many of the sketches have been lost, but some survive: Pete and Dud, cloth-capped and wearing old raincoats, recounting how they were being dogged by night calls from glamorous film stars; the leaping nuns of the Order of St Beryl; and the art gallery dialogue, in which it is suggested that the sign of a good Rubens nude is "when the bottoms start following you around the room."

This series in turn led to offers of work in the cinema - In The Wrong Box, Bedazzled and Thirty Is A Dangerous Age, Cynthia

In the mid-1970s Moore and Cook collaborated again on three Derek And Clive records, a series of scathingly funny, crude sketches which were recorded over the course of marathon drinking sessions.

In the late 1970s, Moore moved to Hollywood. His first role was a sex obsessed loner trying to seduce Goldie Hawn in Foul Play. This brought him to the attention of Blake Edwards, who signed him for a part in 10 alongside Bo Derek. The film, in which he played a middle aged composer desperately trying to attract a perfect woman, made him a Hollywood superstar, although Arthur (1981) - about a millionaire playboy risking all for love - proved to be the apogee of his success.