Musician and journalist Fruchter recalls 15 warm, happy years with actor/musician Dudley Moore.
How refreshing that “Intimate” in the subtitle of this show-business memoir refers not to sensational revelations, but to personal, often tender recollections the author shares about her subject. Fruchter does relate that Moore seduced women, suffered four troubled marriages and was uncircumcised—the latter, however, noted only because he and Fructer considered producing a documentary about circumcision. Otherwise, Fruchter offers a charming, endearing account of Moore’s work as an actor and musician. A former music critic for the New York Times and an accomplished pianist, Fruchter first spoke to Moore by phone for an article she was writing in 1987. Drawn together by their love of music, they eventually met for lunch, the first of a series of witty, sometimes loopy conversations they shared—many of which Fruchter reconstructs here in delightful detail. Soon, Fruchter and Moore toured the world in a series of classical concerts. Along the way, turbulence from Moore’s fourth marriage unnerved the actor, making his Platonic relationship with Fruchter, married and the mother of four, a tranquil refuge. Late in the ’90s, Fruchter observed Moore falter as pianist (“My fingers feel like sausages,” he complained). His speech began to slur and he often lost his balance, misleading many to think he was just like Arthur, the alcoholic title character of his most successful film. Ultimately, Moore was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, an incurable, degenerative neurological condition. Fruchter and her family drew close to Moore, as does the reader, following their visits to a cabin in Nova Scotia, Moore’s farewell journey to England and his heartbreaking demise in 2002.
Gracefully written, keenly observed, Fruchter’s portrait limns the joys of friendship and of lives devoted to art.