Rudy Ray Moore

Actor, Comedian, & Talk Show Host

“I am a spiritual, God-fearing man just playing a ghetto expressionist.”

Rudolph Frank Moore famous as Rudy Ray Moore He was a comedian, musician, singer, American film actor, as well as a film producer who created the Dolemite character of the 1975 Dolemite movie and its sequels, The Human Tornado and The Return of Dolemite. He released his first comedy albums, Below the Belt (1959), The Beatnik Scene (1962) and A Comedian Is Born (1964).

Born March 17, 1937, in Fort Smith, AR, blaxploitation legend Rudy Ray Moore began his life as an entertainer after moving to Cleveland, OH, at the age of 15. Forging a music career under the stage name of “Prince Dumarr,” Moore belted out gutbucket rhythm & blues while wearing a trademark turban, recording several singles and touring through various Midwestern cities.

Rudy Ray Moore

By 1959, he had moved to Los Angeles, dropped the pseudonym, and was focusing on a standup act. A trio of comedy albums released in the early ‘60s on Dooto Records didn't hit for him, so Moore worked part-time in a record store, where a local wino named Rico would often visit to beg for change.

The panhandler recited bawdy “toasts” in exchange for food money, tall tales set to rhyme that have figured in African-American culture for years. One of these stories was “Dolemite,” the tale of a mythical black superman who fights lions and can kill women with the power of his lovemaking. Moore began incorporating “Dolemite” and other toasts into his act, as well as expanding on the suggestive humor of Redd Foxx with explicit profanity and crude jokes about life on the ghetto streets.

He self-financed the release of an album in this new style, and Eat Out More Often was a surprise hit in 1970, spending time on the Billboard soul charts despite the fact that record stores had to keep the album behind the counter. Moore followed with a number of X-rated comedy platters, all recorded in his own home with friends as the audience (which led them to be dubbed “party records”).

By 1975, Moore decided to branch out into motion pictures, and again staked his own money to produce a film version of his most famous routine. Dolemite was a low-budget action-adventure-comedy shot in and around Moore's Los Angeles home. With Moore as the titular pimp-hero (wearing a dazzling array of funky outfits), a harem of kung fu-fighting prostitutes, corrupt white politicians, and plenty of excuses for Moore to perform snippets of his nightclub act, the film was an outlandish, ridiculous vehicle for the comedian that successfully brought his vision to the screen.

It was popular enough to warrant a sequel, The Human Tornado (1976), as well as an adaptation of another of Moore's standup routines, The Devil's Son-In-Law (1977). After releasing the concert film Rudy Ray Moore: Rude in 1982, the comedian's movie appearances dried up, though he continued to make personal appearances and sporadic recordings.

Rudy Ray Moore

Many rappers have named Moore as a major influence and samples from his records and films have turned up on releases by artists like Dr. Dre, Big Chief, and 2 Live Crew. While the rhythmic, profane delivery on his comedy albums accounts for his reputation in the hip-hop world, it can be argued that his films are responsible for keeping his legend alive today. Many of Moore's films are widely available in mainstream video outlets, while his X-rated records are often difficult to find.

On October 19, 2008, Moore died in Akron, Ohio, of complications from diabetes. He was never married. His mother, two brothers, a sister, a daughter, and grandchildren survived him.

He came to be regarded as a major influence by many later rap stars. Snoop Dogg said that “without Rudy Ray Moore, there would be no Snoop Dogg, and that's for real.”

On June 7, 2018, it was announced that Craig Brewer would direct Dolemite Is My Name from a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski with Netflix producing and distributing and Eddie Murphy starring as Moore. Later that month, the rest of the principal cast was announced. In July 2018, Chris Rock and Ron Cephas Jones joined the cast. Principal photography began on June 12, 2018. In August 2019, the trailer was released. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2019, and received a limited release on October 4, 2019, before digital streaming on October 25, 2019.

Quick Facts

Birth Date:
February 12, 1956

Death Date:
June 3, 2016

  • In LA, Rudy Ray Moore didn’t achieve success instantly and took to work in a store called Dolphin’s of Hollywood, a record store. It was while he was working there that changed his career for good. A homeless drunk man regularly visited his store and asked for food. Rudy would give him money only after he performs a little show with the name Dolemite.
  • In 1959, Rudy Ray Moore released his first comedy routine called Below the Belt, which became extremely popular owing to Rudy’s blatant use of sexual themes and profanities. Some of his more popular routines were Shine and the Great Titanic, along with Dolemite. Rudy promoted himself, claiming that he was country’s first X-rated comedian, however, the claim has been refuted by the industry experts since.
  • By the early 1970s, Rudy Ray Moore had accumulated enough funds to start the production of his own film titled Dolemite, which released in 1975. 1970s was known as an era of “blaxploitation”, and the film Dolemite was considered to be one of the greatest films in the genre. In the film, Rudy played the role of Dolemite, a kung-fu fighting, profanity spewing pimp who was famous for his sexual superiority.
  • Apart from his film projects, Rudy also kept releasing music albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s. However, he was mostly popular among the black Americans as the white population was still largely unaware of his works and his impact on the American art scene.
  • Rudy Ray Moore
  • Rudy Ray Moore
  • Rudy Ray Moore


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Last Updated

January 2021

Original Published Date

July 2020

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