Clayton Moore

He Believed in The Ethics Of The Lone Ranger In His Personal Life!

More important than The Lone Ranger being Clayton Moore was the fact that Clayton Moore became "The Lone Ranger".

September 14, 1914 - December 28, 1999

Early Years:
Born Jack Carlton Moore in Chicago, Illinois, Moore became a circus acrobat by age 8 and appeared at the Century of Progress exposition in Chicago in 1934 with a trapeze act. As a young man, Moore worked successfully as a John Robert Powers model. Moving to Hollywood in the late 1930s, he worked as a stunt man and bit player between modeling jobs.

According to his autobiography, around 1940 Hollywood producer Edward Small persuaded him to adopt the stage name "Clayton" Moore. He was an occasional player in B westerns and Republic Studio cliffhangers.

Moore served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II and made training films (Target--Invisible, etc.) with the First Motion Picture Unit.

As The Lone Ranger:
Moore's career advanced in 1949, when George Trendle spotted him in Ghost of Zorro. As creator/producer of the "The Lone Ranger" radio show (with writer Fran Striker), Trendle was about to launch the television version. Moore landed the role.

Disaster struck in 1979 when the Wrather Corporation placed a restraining order on Moore, prohibiting him from wearing the mask and appearing as the Lone Ranger. Two years later a new Lone Ranger was introduced when The Legend of the Lone Ranger hit theaters. The movie quickly bombed, fueled by the backlash over Moore's mask. Very quietly, in 1985, the restraining order was lifted and Moore was once again allowed to appear as the Lone Ranger. The next year Sally Moore passed away. Six months later Moore married Sally's nurse, Connie, but they divorced within three years. Moore married Clarita Petrone in 1992 and they remained together until his death in 1999.

Moore lived a life true to the Lone Ranger Creed. His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is the only one to include his character's name. Though many men have played the part of the masked man in the past seven decades, only one will truly be remembered as the Lone Ranger -- Clayton Moore. Rest in peace Kemo Sabe.

Lawsuit over public appearances:
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. Also, Wrather did not want to encourage the belief that the 65-year-old Moore would be playing the role in the new picture.

This move proved to be a public relations disaster. Moore responded by changing his costume slightly and replacing the mask with similar-looking wraparound sunglasses, and by counter-suing 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. (Wrather's planned motion picture remake, The Legend of the Lone Ranger, was released in 1981 and was a critical and commercial failure.) This Lone Ranger and Silver was crappy looking and was in no way dressed as the prior Lone Ranger and Silver therefore was not accepted by the fans.

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, linked him inextricably with the character.

In this regard, he was much like another cowboy star, William Boyd, who portrayed 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.

Death:
Clayton Moore died on December 28, 1999, in a West Hills, California, hospital after suffering a heart attack at his home in nearby Calabasas. He was survived by his fourth wife, Clarita Moore, and an adopted daughter, Dawn Angela Moore. Moore was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Plot: Everlasting Peace, Lot 5492

Spouse:

Clarita (18 January 1992 - 28 December 1999) (his death)
Connie (August 1986 - 1989) (divorced)
Sally Allen (24 April 1943 - 22 February 1986) (her death) 1 child
Mary Moore (19 August 1940 - April 1942) (divorced)

Picture is Clayton with his wife Sally at their "Lazy Trails" Home in Tarzana, California.

A Tribute - from a boy that was in an Orphanage.

Clayton Moore in his personal life and as The Lone Ranger meant a lot to many of the kids that grew up with him. These kids are now adults that are parents and even grandparents. Here is the best tribute that anyone could possibly get from this little boy, like many little boys that admired this great man, who is now an adult. Turn up your volume and see Roger Dean Kiser's tribute here

Watch the YouTube video of Clayton Moore getting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Clayton Moore, in his own words

Excerpts from his book 'I Was That Masked Man'
by Joe Southern

No one is more closely associated with the Lone Ranger than Clayton Moore. And no actor has so closely associated with a character than Moore has with the masked man. Using his own words as quoted from his book “I Was That Masked Man,” co-authored by Frank Thompson, we take a look at the life of the man who brought joy, hope and happiness to millions of fans across the country and around the world.

“I suppose I was destined to be a patriotic American from the day I was born in Saint Luke’s Hospital on the South Side of Chicago. My birthday, September 14, 1914, was the 100th anniversary of the writing of ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’”

He was born Jack Carlton Moore. It wasn’t until he got to Hollywood that producer Eddie Small changed his name to Clayton.

“I was born, the youngest of three boys, to Theresa Violet Fisher and Sprague C. Moore. My brother Sprague was four years older than I was, and Howard was just nine months older.”

As a teenager, Moore became involved in athletics at the Illinois Athletic Club. There he befriended Johnny Weissmuller. He learned to swim and, more importantly, to be a trapeze artist. He connected with Johnny Behr, who invited Moore to join his Flying Behrs.

“Our biggest break came when we were booked at the 1934 Chicago World’s Fair. We performed there for the greater part of that summer. I would travel to the fairground on the El to do two shows a day, an afternoon and an evening show,” he said.

After a brief move to live with his great-aunt in Florida, Moore dropped out of high school just weeks shy of graduation to tour with the Flying Behrs. “I loved the athletic challenge of what we were doing, but even more, I loved performing in front of appreciative audiences. Little by little, I began to realize that show business was my future — not trapeze work, but acting,” he said.

Following the advice of his oldest brother, Moore got into modeling, first in Chicago, then in New York.

His modeling career led him to Hollywood where he pursued his dream of becoming a cowboy actor. After a rough start, Moore began to get parts in films, first at Columbia Pictures and then at Warner Brothers. He was hired away to MGM and six months later signed on with Edward Small Productions to play in “South of Pago Pago.” He never did get the part, but he did get something else.

“Besides the money, Edward Small would make another big change in my life. He didn’t think that my name, Jack Carlton, had enough personality. He asked me what I thought about changing it to Clayton Moore, which he thought had a nice ring to it,” he said.

While Moore was still working as a contract player, he was hired to escort Lupe Velez, the Mexican Spitfire. They never dated as such but went out to a lot of glamorous spots where Lupe could get publicity.

Moore began getting better parts, including a role in “Kit Carson” (1940). Just before it’s premier, Moore married Mary Francis. It was a stormy marriage that ended in less than a year. A short time later Moore left Small to work for Republic Pictures.

“I’ll never forget the first day I walked through the gates of Republic Pictures. … Back in the silent days, comic genius Mack Sennet had run the place, but now it was a Western paradise. Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and John Wayne were Republic’s biggest stars. I felt as though I really come to the right place. But it would be quite a while before I appeared in a Republic Western,” he said.

Before getting into Westerns, Moore made what was probably the best of his Republic serials — “The Perils of Nyoka” (later changed to “Nyoka and the Tigermen”).

Around the time he was filming “Perils,” Moore and Velez attended a pool party where Moore met Sally Allen.

While working on “Black Dragons” in 1942, Moore was drafted into the Army. While he was stationed in Kingman, Ariz., he married Sally. In 1945 he was transferred from Kingman to the motion picture unit in Culver City. A short time later he was honorably discharged and went back to work at Republic Pictures. For the next four years he worked in numerous serials, enough to earn him the title “King of the B’s.”

“‘The Ghost of Zorro’ completed filming in February 1949, and the first episode was released on April 12. I thought that it had turned out well and was proud of what we had accomplished. But there was no reason to think of ‘The Ghost of Zorro’ as anything other than just another serial. I went home to wait for my next assignment from Republic, eager for rest after taking off the Zorro mask.

“What I didn’t realize is that I wouldn’t work for Republic again for a while. And as for masks — I was about to put one on that I would never truly take off again,” he said.

In the summer of 1949, Moore took on a role that would redefine his life. “So, when my agent told me in the spring of 1949 that I was being considered for the leading role in a proposed television version of ‘The Lone Ranger,’ I was thrilled — and more than a little scared,” Moore said.

The nerves, however, quickly passed when he finally met Lone Ranger creator/owner George Trendle.

“Mr. Trendle looked directly into my eyes. ‘Mr. Moore,’ he said — he didn’t call my Clayton, never got that informal — ‘would you like the part of the Lone Ranger?’ I stiffened up just a little bit and my knees stopped quaking. I looked back at him and said, ‘Mr. Trendle, I am the Lone Ranger!’”

The next day he was introduced to Jay Silverheels, the man who would play the part of Tonto. “As we shook hands for the first time, I felt as if I had known Jay Silverheels for a long time,” Moore said.

“My first costume was made by Frank Acuna, an independent costumer. It was very similar to the standard Lone Ranger costume except that the first mask was slightly smaller and covered less of my face. The mask was made of plaster and molded right to my face, then covered with purple felt. I developed the molded mask.

In previous movies, masked men had trouble moving around because the mask hindered their vision. But with this mask I had no trouble at all,” he said.

“We began production on the series on June 21, 1949. Even by the standards of the day, our budgets were low. For the first two seasons, ‘The Lone Ranger’ cost $12,500 per episode. Our sponsor General Mills raised the budget to $15,000 in 1951, $17,000 in 1952 and $18,000 by 1954. Today it isn’t unusual for a four- minute music video on MTV to cost a million dollars. We were masters at stretching a buck,” Moore said.

While Moore didn’t make much money doing the show, he did find a way to earn a little extra off of it.

“But remember the opening scene in front of "The Lone Ranger Rock", where Silver rears up? That’s me. I did all the rearing of the horse. Not because I thought I was such an excellent horseman that no one else could rear Silver as well as I could, but because every time they used that shot to advertise the show, I got fifty dollars. So I made sure that every time we reared that horse, I was on him,” he said.

The shows were cheap and quickly made, but that didn’t stop the actors from enjoying the experience.

“In one episode Jay had a tongue twister of his own. We rode into the scene, dismounted, ran up a short hill, crouched down at a fallen log, and Jay said, ‘Kimo Sabe, me see snoke sniggle,’” he said.

One time on the set Silverheels came away from a fight scene walking funny. When Moore found him in his trailer, Silverheels was holding his chest. He’d had a heart attack. While he was recovering, the scripts were re- written to have Tonto away. The Dan Reid character was introduced to fill in the gap.

In the show’s third season, in 1952, John Hart replaced Moore. During that time Moore returned to Republic Pictures and made the last of his serials. Not long after Moore returned to “The Lone Ranger” the character was sold by Trendle to Jack Wrather for $3 million. Moore played the Lone Ranger for the rest of the run from 1954 to 1956, starring in 169 of the 221 episodes. He also starred with Silverheels in two major motion pictures, “The Lone Ranger” (1956) and “The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold” (1958).

“Although neither of us were through with the characters yet — not by a long shot — we would never again appear in film or on television in adventures about the Lone Ranger and Tonto,” he said.

The year 1958 was very memorable for Moore. He made a famous tour of England and returned home to a major event. He and Sally adopted a baby girl, Dawn Angela Moore.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Moore continued to appear as the Lone Ranger at public appearances and on television commercials. He quit acting in order to portray the masked man for a living. But in 1975 something happened to threaten that. The Wrather Corp. demanded that he stop representing himself as the Lone Ranger. At a hearing in August of 1979, a judge did the improbable — he ripped the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger. “It felt like a slap in the face,” he said.

Things didn’t get much better. The next year Jay Silverheels died.

“I could only hope that Jay, wherever he was, knew how much I loved him and respected him and how much of an impact he had on my life and so many other lives,” Moore said.

In 1981, “The Legend of the Lone Ranger” opened and immediately flopped. “Lone Ranger fans across the country were so angered by my treatment during this whole ordeal that they stayed away in droves. … When ‘The Legend of the Lone Ranger’ bombed at the box office, many people expected me to feel smug and satisfied. But I would never wish failure on anyone,” he said.

The year 1985 brought a mixed blessing. With Jack Wrather’s passing, the restraining order was lifted and the mask was returned. But Sally became ill and passed away the next year. Moore married two more times after that.

“It doesn’t matter that I am Clayton Moore, an actor, and that The Lone Ranger is a legendary figure of folklore. In more ways than I can count, we have become one and the same.”

To read his full life story with pictures get the book "I was that Masked Man" by Clayton Moore written by Frank Thompson. You can purchase it on our For Sale page of Books and DVD's. It is for sale here on this website Under For Sale - then look for the dropdown "Books & DVD's."

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