OTR has learned that after an extended illness, seminal comedian Rudy Ray Moore, better known as Dolemite, has died in Akron, Ohio. He was 81.
OTR was initially informed of the news by comedienne Luenell, a friend of the family.
Moore, whose actual name was Rudolph Frank Moore, passed away Sunday from complications of diabetes, his only child and daughter, Yvette “Rusty” Wesson, told us.
According to Wikipedia, Moore is perhaps best known as Dolemite, the uniquely articulate pimp (“… rappin’ & tappin’ is my game!”) from the 1975 film “Dolemite,” and its sequel, “The Human Tornado.” The persona was developed during his earlier stand-up comedy records.
Rudy Ray Moore was also known as the “king of the party records” and released many comedy records throughout the 1960s and 1970s, developing a style even more rude and explicit than contemporaries like Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor. This kept him off of television and major films, but cultivated an enduring fan base. He also guested on Big Daddy Kane’s CD Taste of Chocolate, released in 1990.
The 2 Live Crew used Rudy Ray Moore’s records as scratch samples on their early work; most notably on “Throw The Di*k.”
Moore starred in “Big Money Hustlas,” a movie created by and starring the Insane Clown Posse, in which he played Dolemite for the first time in over 20 years.
In 2008 Rudy Ray Moore reprised the character Petey Wheatstraw for the song “I live for the Funk” Featuring Blowfly and Daniel Jordan. This marked the first time Blowfly and Rudy have collaborated on the same record together, and the 30 year anniversary since the movie was filmed.
Moore began his entertainment career as an R&B singer and continued singing through his comedy career. He developed an interest in comedy in the Army after expanding on a singing performance for other servicemen.
Besides his daughter, Moore also leaves behind his 98 year-old mother Lucille. Although, Wesson couldn’t tell us the exact dates, funeral services will be in Toledo, Ohio as well as Spokane, Washington where his mother and the rest of his immediate family lives.
Watch the “Dolemite” trailer from 1975. Office warning: contains profanity!