Although he hadn’t made a film in decades, we still remember Dickie Moore.
He was one of the most engaging child stars of the 1930s, and then skillfully made a transition to adult roles in the 1940s. He died last week in Connecticut after a long illness a bit shy of his 90th birthday. His widow, Jane Powell (yes, that Jane Powell), survives him.
Moore started in silent films, as a baby. Then he starred in Our Gang comedies, but only for a year, because he was in such demand for feature films of the early sound era. Among his most notable films are Blonde Venus, as Marlene Dietrich’s son, and So Big, as Barbara Stanwyck‘s.
His obituaries all noted that he was the young man to give another famous child star, Shirley Temple, her first on screen kiss. In the 1960s when his film career had faded Moore set up a PR agency to handle child stars.
Then in the 1980s he wrote a best selling book about child stars, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star: (But Don’t Have Sex or Take the Car). Not only did he relate his own experiences in the book but he’d interviewed other child stars of the era for their comments. It was then he met Powell, and the two married in 1988.
Among his films as a young adult two stand out, Sergeant York, with Gary Cooper, and the 1947 thriller Out of the Past, with Robert Mitchum.
It is in the latter, perhaps the single best-made film noir ever, that Moore really shines. He plays a mute garage assistant devoted to Mitchum. Alth0ugh his part is minimal, it is highly effective and at film’s end, quietly moving. It Frank’s book, it was Moore’s finest screen outing.
In the picture, Moore looked older that he does above, and a lot younger than he does below.