How much do you remember about character actor Victor Moore?
Perhaps not much since he seemed to fly a tad under the radar. But the guy, born in New Jersey way back in 1896, rolled up quite a career. He regarded himself as a comedian who could act (and write, and direct), and he did so for over 40 years.
Like many character actors of his vintage, he worked hard on the stage. He was a big deal on Broadway in the Twenties where he appeared in some two dozen shows. Singularly, though, Moore also worked in films — silent movies — from 1915 on. Nearly half his total screen output was in the silents.
His last “talkie” was director Billy Wilder’s 1955 comedy, The Seven Year Itch, a piece of fluff which presented Marilyn Monroe in one of her sexiest roles. (Moore played the visiting plumber.)
Moore’s presence was notable in the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers concoction, 1936’s Swing Time (see directly below), one of several Thirties hits including 1937’s Make Way For Tomorrow where Moore parried with costar Beulah Bondi.
The Forties brought more interesting roles and more challenging female costars such as Mae West in 1943’s The Heat’s On (see below). The decade also brought appearances with Bob Hope in 1941’s Louisiana Purchase and in 1942’s Star Spangled Rhythm.
Final thought: Moore was canny about business, and he bought real estate properties over the years. One in Jackson Heights in the borough of Queens in New York City was a commercial building accommodating stores, offices and a bus terminal. The site became known as “The Victor Moore Arcade.”
The location was used by Alfred Hitchcock early in his 1956 title, The Wrong Man, with Henry Fonda — who plays a musician living in Jackson Heights — seen emerging from the subway at the Moore building site.
Victor Moore — quite a character.