Little Dickie Moore, the beloved former child star, has died. He was 89.
The husband of famed actress Jane Powell, Moore began his long career in show business when he was only 11 months old, playing John Barrymore as an infant in the 1927 silent film The Beloved Rogue. He would go on to appear in more than 100 films during the next 30 years and was later the longtime spokesman for AFTRA.
His many memorable screen performances included starring roles in Oliver Twist, Sergeant York, The Life Of Louis Pasteur and Heaven Can Wait. But he probably is best known for his appearances in the Our Gang comedies and as the boyfriend who gave Shirley Temple her first screen kiss in the 1942 film Miss Annie Rooney.
He started working regularly at age 4, appearing in as many as 12 feature films a year. Among his early credits were Cecil B. DeMille’s The Squaw Man, So Big with Barbara Stanwyck and Blonde Venus with Marlene Dietrich and newcomer Cary Grant. In 1932, producer Hal Roach recruited him for Our Gang, where he worked with Spanky, Stymie and the kids for a year before resuming his career in feature films, including Little Men, Man’s Castle with Spencer Tracy, Peter Ibbetson with Gary Cooper, The Life Of Emile Zola with Paul Muni and The Bride Wore Red with Joan Crawford, among others.
After serving in World War II as a correspondent for Stars And Stripes in the Pacific Theater, Moore attended college in Los Angeles, majoring in journalism. He then returned to acting as Dick Moore and appeared in Out Of The Past with Robert Mitchum and in Tuna Clipper with Roddy MacDowell. He also co-produced, co-directed and acted in a short subject film called The Boy And The Eagle that was nominated for an Academy Award in 1949. His last film was The Member Of The Wedding in 1952.
Relocating to New York, he worked in radio, television, summer stock, Broadway and Off-Broadway, both as an actor and director, before his career took a new turn. He became involved with Actors’ Equity, and served on its governing Council before becoming editor of their magazine and public relations counsel. He left Equity in 1964 to become creative director for films, meetings and shows for a leading advertising agency and then was a senior associate with a major public relations firm. He formed his own public relations firm, Dick Moore and Associates, in 1966.
His 1984 book, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, is an autobiographical account of his childhood in the movie business that explores the hardships that many child actors face growing up in front of the cameras. He was also author of Opportunities In Acting Careers and co-author of a study titled “The Relationship Of Amateur To Professional In The American Theatre.”
Besides his wife, he is survived by his son, Kevin Moore; and numerous grandchildren, stepchildren and step-grandchildren.