John Moffatt Death, Obituary – We send this letter to inform you that Mr. John Moffatt, who had been battling a terrible illness for some time, passed away yesterday. It is with great regret that I do so. His dedication to the youth of Greenfield is something that our community owes him a tremendous amount of gratitude for, and we shall miss him very much. As a way to honor his life and legacy, we have started a condolence book in the reception area of our school. I
n addition to our own school counselor, we will have access to a wide spectrum of mental health professionals as well as people who specialize in grieving.
John Moffatt, who passed away at the age of 89, was a devastatingly clinical and classical stage actor of unimpeachable taste and gallantry. He is arguably best known for his role on BBC radio as Hercule Poirot, the moustache-twirling detective created by Agatha Christie and portrayed by David Suchet.
His trademark stillness and decorum on stage was at odds with false notions of flounce and frilliness, but there are very few actors working today who could compete with his armor-plated technique, his almost uncanny empathy with comic styles ranging from the Restoration to Rattigan, or his incisive articulation. He seemed like something of a throwback, but there are very few actors working today who could compete with his technique.
His idols Noel Coward and John Gielgud, along with his best friends Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Alec McCowen, and Joan Plowright, were just a few of the notable people he had collaborated with over the course of his career. However, the primary reason he was so beloved was not only due to the fact that he was so funny and humble about his own contribution, but also because he had worked with almost everyone of note in the industry.
In his early days as a repertory actor at the Oxford Playhouse, he was cast in the role of the schoolteacher Kulygin in Chekhov’s Three Sisters. In this role, he was required to remove his moustache between the third and fourth acts of the play. One evening, he neglected to do so, and he noticed that Dench was growing beet red in preparation for her line, which was, “You’ve shaved off your moustache.” He gave a quick spin to look at the trees, and in that brief moment, he deftly removed the errant hair off his upper lip. Dench denies this. She states that she told him, “You’ve shaved off your moustache,” and then she followed up with, “and grown it back…” (Moffatt twirls and pulls off the tache), “… and shaved it off again!”