Dickie Moore, Child Actor Known for a Screen Kiss, Dies at 89
New York Times
By Bruce Weber
September 10, 2015
Dick Moore, a public relations executive who was known as Dickie when he was a Hollywood child star, playing the movies’ first talking Oliver Twist and later giving Shirley Temple her first on-screen kiss, died on Monday in Connecticut. He was 89.
Helene Feldman, who works for his company, Dick Moore & Associates, confirmed the death but said she was not sure where it had occurred. Mr. Moore lived in Wilton, Conn.
Mr. Moore was not yet a year old and evidently cute as a button when he made his movie debut in the 1927 silent feature “The Beloved Rogue,” which starred John Barrymore as the 15th-century French poet and gadabout François Villon. Young Dickie, uncredited, played Villon as an infant.
He very quickly became a busy youngster, appearing in dozens of features and short films, many before he turned 12, including “Blonde Venus” (1932), in which he played Marlene Dietrich’s son, and “The Story of Louis Pasteur” (1936), in which he played a boy saved from rabies by Paul Muni. In 1932-33, he appeared regularly in “Our Gang” shorts (the series was known as “The Little Rascals” when the films were shown on television). He was 6 when he played the title role in Hollywood’s first sound adaptation of Charles Dickens’s “Oliver Twist” (1933).
Mr. Moore claimed that the much-ballyhooed kiss he gave Shirley Temple in “Miss Annie Rooney” (1942) — he was 16, she was 14 — was his first kiss on-screen or off (though Temple, as she admitted in her autobiography, couldn’t say the same).
Decades later, Mr. Moore wrote about the peculiar and not terribly nourishing life of child actors in a 1984 book, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (But Don’t Have Sex or Take the Car),” in which he described his own experiences and those of others whom he interviewed. He recalled that when he was 8, he was so used to inscribing autographed pictures for fans that he signed his mother’s birthday card “from your friend Dickie Moore.”
John Richard Moore Jr. was born in Los Angeles on Sept. 12, 1925. Though his acting career, which also included some stage work and a role in the Robert Mitchum film noir “Out of the Past” (1947), did not end for good until the 1950s — his last film was “The Member of the Wedding” in 1952 — it was on the wane by the time he kissed Temple.
He spent two years in the Army at the end of World War II, serving as a correspondent for the newspaper Stars and Stripes. After his discharge he briefly studied journalism at Los Angeles City College. He went on to produce and star in an Academy Award-nominated short film, “The Boy and the Eagle” (1949), about a disabled young man who nurses a wounded eagle back to health.
Mr. Moore was later the public relations director for Actors’ Equity Association, the stage actors union, as well as editor of its magazine, before starting his own public relations firm in 1966.
He was married three times and divorced twice. In 1988 he married the actress Jane Powell, who had also been a child star. They met during the research for his book. She survives him. His survivors also include a son, Kevin; a stepson, Geary; two stepdaughters, Lindsay and Suzanne; a sister, Pat Kingsley; and several grandchildren and step-grandchildren.
MOORE, Dickie (John Richard Moore, Jr.)
Born: 9/12/1925, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Died: 9/7/2015, Wilton, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Dickie Moore’s westerns – actor:
The Squaw Man – 1931 (Little Hal)
Cody of the Pony Express – 1950 (Bill Cody)