×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Brit TV astronomer Moore dies

He hosted 'Sky at Night' for 50 years

Britain’s iconic TV astronomer Patrick Moore died Sunday of natural causes at his home in Selsey, West Sussex, England. He was 89.

Moore presented the BBC show “The Sky at Night” for over 50 years, which made him the longest-running host of the same TV show of all time. He missed only one episode when he was ill due to a bout of food poisoning.

Moore was a prolific writer on astronomy whose research was used by both the U.S. and the Soviet Union in their space programs.

An archetypal British eccentric who wore a monocle onscreen, Moore looked like Hollywood’s idea of the nutty professor. However, his obvious love for his subject inspired amateur astronomers of several generations to take up stargazing.

Onscreen his energy and enthusiasm for astronomy, delivered at breakneck speed, broadened his appeal beyond those with knowledge of the subject.

Moore was the voice of the space age in the U.K. as the first astronauts in the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. were launched into orbit. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were both guests on his show.

Moore fronted the first edition of “The Sky at Night” in April 1957. His final appearance was screened by the BBC last week.

Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore was born at Pinner, Middlesex, England. A weak heart meant he spent much of his childhood being educated at home. He became a voracious reader, and a book given to him by his mother, G.F. Chambers’ “The Story of the Solar System,” was the stepping stone to his lifelong love of astronomy.

He was due to attend Cambridge U. but Moore’s academic career was derailed by WWII. Moore lied about his age and joined the Royal Air Force at 16, serving as a navigator with Bomber Command.

He received many honors during his lengthy career. In 1968, he was appointed OBE and promoted to CBE in 1988. In 2001, he was knighted for “services to the popularization of science and to broadcasting.”

In the same year, he was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society, the only amateur astronomer ever to achieve this distinction.

In 2002, Aldrin presented Moore with a BAFTA for services to television.

Moore never married. His fiancee, Lorna, was killed during the war after an ambulance she was driving was hit by a bomb.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Cara Delevingne'Carnival Row' TV show premiere,

    Cara Delevingne Talks Immigration, Taylor Swift's Battle With Scooter Braun

    Cara Delevingne, whose faerie character in “Carnival Row” finds herself washed ashore as a refugee in a foreign land, said she was immediately drawn by the show’s fantastical take on issues of immigration and assimilation. “It’s a cause that I have been involved in for a long time,” Delevingne told Variety at the premiere of [...]

  • John Travolta, Fred Durst. John Travolta,

    John Travolta Recalls Fans Breaking Into His House: 'I Was Scared the First Time'

    Nobody can accuse John Travolta of not being gracious to his fans, whether it’s an autograph, a selfie or, you know, a home invasion or two. “I’ve only had two people that actually invaded my house,” Travolta told Variety at the premiere of “The Fanatic” at the Egyptian Theater on Thursday night. “They were just [...]

  • Sublime Primetime

    How Emmy-Nominated Writers’ Rooms Keep Politics in Mind

    In a world filled with elections, social movements and national tragedies, how open should the doors of a writers’ room actually be? For some of this year’s Emmy-nominated shows, those doors are wide open. Before the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards air on Sept. 22, the Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild Foundation, [...]

  • 50 Cent Power S6 Premiere

    50 Cent, Snoop Dogg & Trey Songz 'Power' Up New York City for Massive Season 6 Premiere

    “Power” is entering its final season, but you would never know if you walked by Madison Square Garden in Manhattan on Tuesday night. Starz pulled out all the stops for its ratings powerhouse “Power,” throwing a massive premiere event, complete with a full-length concert at Madison Square Garden from Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and a [...]

  • Diane Warren'Late Night' Film Premiere, Arrivals,

    Songs of Hope to Honor Diane Warren, Marc Shaiman, Boi-1da, More at 15th Annual Event

    Cancer research and treatment center City of Hope today announced the initial lineup of presenters and honorees who will celebrate the song and songwriter at its 15th annual Songs of Hope event. Among the music and entertainment industry VIPs in attendance will be veteran executive and producer Clive Davis, producer Boi-1da (Drake, Kendrick Lamar), award-winning [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content