'20/20': Dudley Moore Battles Brain Disease

WALTERS: Then in 1995, you had a really good role in the Barbra Streisand movie, The Mirror Has Two Faces.

MOORE: Mm-hmm.

WALTERS: They fired you.

MOORE: They fired me because I couldn't remember my lines after a certain point.

WALTERS: This must have been devastating for you.

MOORE: It was devastating.

WALTERS: (VO) It was probably Dudley Moore's last chance at a comeback. After the disaster on the Streisand set, it was unlikely that he would ever be hired as an actor again.

RENA FRUCHTER: He felt like his life was over at that point. He said, "Something is wrong. I don't know what is going on." That was a major blow for him.

WALTERS: To be fired?

RENA FRUCHTER: Yeah, yeah.

WALTERS: And to know that the career in acting was probably going to be over?

RENA FRUCHTER: Yeah, well, he said that. He said, "That's the end of my acting career."p>

WALTERS: (VO) In the midst of a deep depression, rumors started to swirl in Hollywood and in the tabloids that his career was over, that Moore was an alcoholic. In public, he was often seen wobbling and slurring words.

But his closest friends say they never saw him drink excessively.

BLAKE EDWARDS: I was shocked, because that wasn't the Dudley I knew. I never thought it's some serious illness, some impairment. I thought, "Well, it's because he's having all those personal problems, maybe he's taken up booze, and maybe he's gotten involved in drugs."

WALTERS: (VO) His personal life was also in shambles. Despite his height and clubfoot, he had always been a ladies' man, attracting tall, beautiful women. Some called him "Cuddly Dudley." But his relationships and marriages were often marked by turbulence, especially his last wife, who made headlines after accusing him of a string of abuses, from drugs to assault.

Moore denies it all, even the time she had him arrested for allegedly striking her. Though charges were later dropped, it was clear that other unexplainable problems persisted. In 1995 and '96, he was involved in a series of car accidents. In one, he drove off a Colorado road and down a steep slope. His vision and concentration were off, but he refused to see a doctor, insisting it was only age.

(OC) What were your first symptoms where you said, "Something is wrong"?

MOORE: Well, I think in Australia.

WALTERS: (VO) It was in Australia in 1996, while performing with his pianist friend Rena Fruchter, that he began having problems. His acting career in ruins, Moore thought he still had his music. But he began to have trouble playing. His once-fluid sound was now erratic and stumbling.

RENA FRUCHTER: I didn't know what to think. There was a lot going on. He started having trouble with one finger and things just weren't going exactly the way he wanted them to. We just had no idea.

WALTERS: What did the reviewers say?

RENA FRUCHTER: The reviewers said everything from, "It Was a Perfect 10" to "Moore is Less." There were reviews that didn't even show Dudley. There was one that said, "Dudley Drunk on Stage" question mark.

WALTERS: What did you think was wrong with you?

MOORE: I thought it was some illness that I couldn't fathom.

WALTERS: Were you scared?

MOORE: Yes.

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