Ex-child star dies: Dickie Moore

Published: September 12, 2015

Ex-child star dies: Dickie Moore, Child actor Dickie Moore, who was in “Our Gang” comedies and numerous notable films, was so used to the limelight by the time he was 6 that when he got a birthday card for his mother, he signed it, “Your friend, Dickie Moore.”

But like many child actors, his transition to adulthood was difficult.

“People don’t want to see you as you are now, but as you were then,” he said in a 1984 Associated Press interview, “because that’s what they remember, and enjoyed, and made money off of.”

Moore, 89, who eventually became successful apart from acting and had a long marriage with actress Jane Powell, died Sept. 7 in a Connecticut hospital.

He had been suffering from dementia and died of natural causes, said Helaine Feldman, president of Dick Moore & Associates, a New York public relations firm he founded.

Born John Richard Moore Jr. on Sept 12, 1925, in Los Angeles, he was known for his big brown eyes, mop of dark hair and cherubic face. Even as a baby, his looks got him a job — a casting director spotted him at 11 months and wanted him for a scene in the film “The Beloved Rogue” starring John Barrymore.

At first, Moore’s mother resisted having her baby in the movies, but with his father out of work, the income was needed.

Moore quickly became a steadily working actor. By the time he was in the “Our Gang” short “Hook and Ladder” (1932), he had appeared in more than 30 features and shorts.

From the start, he was a standout in the kiddie comedy shorts. “He became a most endearing leading man,” according to the book “The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang” by Leonard Maltin and Richard Bann.

Moore’s success made it even more difficult for his father to find work because employers assumed the family was swimming in money. Moore was the de facto breadwinner, which was not unusual for child actors of the era.

“All of us shared common lives, huge responsibilities and salaries that shriveled fathers’ egos,” he wrote in his 1984 book about child actors, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (and Don’t Have Sex or Take the Car.)”

Even while appearing in the shorts, Moore was getting feature exposure, most prominently in Josef von Sternberg’s “Blonde Venus” (1932) in which he played the son of Marlene Dietrich, and “So Big!” (1932) starring Barbara Stanwyck, one of his favorites to work with.

“Affectionate and demonstrative, she was easy to understand,” he wrote in his book. “She was a direct and gracious woman, who seemed extremely interested in whatever interested me.”


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