British actor Ron Moody has died aged 91.

The star was best known for playing Fagin in the 1968 hit film version of 'Oliver!', for which he was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe.

His widow Therese said: ''He brought joy to his family and to the hearts of many and will be greatly missed. He was singing until the end.''

The London-born actor was initially known as Ronald Moodnick and had planned to pursue a career as an economist, which meant he did not take acting seriously until his late 20s.

However, his big break came when he was cast in the film adaptation of CHARLES DICKENS' classic novel, which also featured Oliver Reed as Bill Sikes.

Later, Moody said: ''Fate destined me to play Fagin. It was the part of a lifetime.''

In addition to his starring role in 'Oliver!', Moody appeared as wizard Merlin in Disney's 'A Kid in King Arthur's Court' and he also featured in the popular British soap 'EastEnders'.

By contrast, the actor admitted he regretted declining the opportunity to play the role of Doctor Who in 1969.

Moody married Pilates teacher Therese Blackbourn in 1985 and the couple had six children together.