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A KringleQuest.commentary

Santa Claus: The Movie and Dudley Moore --- Was There a Dark Side?

" 'Patch,' incidentally, is the nickname of Dudley's real-life son, Patrick....." --- Ted Maynard, from the making-of documentary

In all the years I've been Senior Elf-in-Charge here at KringleQuest, I've never been so completely torn by a single interview as I have by the one whose text I now share with you in its entirety, from the January 9th, 2005 Sunday New York Daily News:

Diminutive funnyman Dudley Moore was a lousy father who his son blames for turning him into a homeless drug addict, according to a British newspaper.

Now living in a Harlem studio apartment, 28-year-old Patrick Moore recently told London's Daily Telegraph that he started taking drugs to cope with his loneliness.

Yet he has managed to overcome his resentment to forgive his dad, who died two years ago of the brain disorder called PSP, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.

"Growing up, I always had a lot of money and privilege, but I was a lonely kid, and neither of my parents were around much," Patrick said. His mother is New York-born 1960s film and TV star Tuesday Weld.

"They were busy with their own problems, so I was abandoned and left pretty much to fend for myself," Patrick explained. "I started taking drugs to try and numb the pain."

In the months prior to his father's death, Patrick was sleeping rough in California. "I started sleeping on the beach near my dad's old house in Marina Del Rey," he said. "It was the place that had given me my only happy childhood memories."

Patrick, whose mom lives on Manhattan's Upper West Side, told the Telegraph that his 5'2" father was jealous of the fact that he, Patrick, is a full 6 feet tall. "He felt uncomfortable about it," he said. "He'd flinch if I put my arm around him. He didn't like being reminded of his size."

Moore and Weld married shortly after they had first met on Broadway in 1974, only to call it splits some 6 years later. Patrick was subsequently raised by his mom. "During school vacations, I would visit him in his house in Los Angeles. After a few days, he'd get snappy because he didn't want me around. I began seeing that Dad had a lot of problems, which he never really sorted out. And there were a lot of these unsuitable people hanging around, and then there were all these big rows with Nicole," Patrick continued, referring to Moore's fourth wife, Nicole Rothschild. "There were even call girls, too, wandering in and out, but I was constantly told that he only had them so that they could dance for him."

As Dudley began undergoing the final stages of PSP, Patrick's dependency on drugs began to spiral when his father cut off all contact. "I knew he was trying to avoid me, and it hurt," he said. "I was told he didn't want to undergo the stress of seeing me."

Now, Patrick Moore says he's had two spells in a rehab clinic, and is desperate to try to get his life, along with a music career, on track before his 30th birthday, at which time he'll inherit a huge portion of Dudley's $900 million estate.

"My dad was a messed-up guy who didn't deal with his hang-ups," Patrick said. "But I forgive him. He just wasn't suited to the role of being a father."

At this point, I need to apologize for having shared this aspect of Dudley's life with you. But please understand, one of the major questions you have long asked about the legacy of the Salkinds is this: was there a dark side to their world? That, among other things, is one of the reasons KringleQuest.com is here on the web in the first place: to bring some of those issues, both good and bad, into the light. Having said that, one must wonder:

Was there a dark side to the making of Santa Claus: The Movie?

Perhaps there was, and perhaps there wasn't. But --- and I think at this juncture that this is a perfectly good opportunity to speak personally to young Patrick on these topics --- if he felt abandoned by both his parents, that was largely due to the fact that celebrities, then as now, had a responsibility to their fans. Family and/or personal lives during the period when Patrick was growing up were, I suspect, quite secondary for much of the 1960s and 1970s; it was an age when children of so-called superstars were, for the most part, ignored.

I don't think, dear Patrick, that your father was trying to ignore you in his last days. Even now, a little over seven years after his death, there are still people out there who don't really understand what Progressive Supranuclear Palsy is. I can only presume, therefore, and please don't think that I'm prying into your personal life, that he didn't want you to see him in the vegetative condition he was undergoing at this tragically climactic period in his life. I believe Dudley did love you, Patrick; I guess he wanted you to remember him during that time when you were little.

I find it shameful that celebrities of the 60s and 70s were notorious for abandoning their children; since I myself was abandoned by a parent during that period, I can understand some of the feelings Patrick was expressing, as he was speaking with that interviewer. Still, it's sad and it's WRONG to abandon children. This website will never condone that kind of behavior. As long as I remain webmaster of KringleQuest.com, we're gonna make sure that, in truth, no child is EVER hurt or abandoned by anyone, anywhere.

Accordingly, the KringleQuest Team encourages you to visit MissingKids.com, official homepage of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Their database has tons of information about abandoned or missing children. Please join us in supporting their efforts. We also continue to support the Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Society, because we believe the word still needs to go out about this rare disease. Believe me when I tell you that finding a cure for PSP never means more than RIGHT NOW..... because PSP almost tore apart Dudley Moore's family. Forever. Thank goodness we had a chance to stop it from happening before Dudley left us.

Cordially,

Richard

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