Dickie Moore, the legendary child actor who gained fame for stealing the show in a series of Our Gang shorts, and for giving Shirley Temple her first on-screen kiss, has died, Fox News is reporting. He was 89.
Like many child stars, both of his era and today, Dickie Moore had difficulty transitioning to adulthood – struggling with substance abuse, failed relationships, a suicide attempt – but unlike other child stars, he was able to put his difficulties behind him and transition to a successful and rewarding life outside of acting.
Born in 1925, Dickie Moore began attracting the attention of movie-industry talent scouts before he was out of diapers; his big brown eyes and cherubic looks got him the role of an infant 1927 silent film, The Beloved Rogue.
Dickie Moore’s first film role was playing John Barrymore as a baby in The Beloved Rogue (1927) pic.twitter.com/8BWVvxcvZ6
— Jessica (J. P.) (@HollywoodComet) September 11, 2015
More acting gigs would follow, which he was pushed into out of necessity – his father was out of work and his family needed the money. Moore would later say that, like other child actors of his day, he was the principal breadwinner in his family – a fact that would be a source of shame to his father, who couldn’t get work due to Dickie’s celebrity status, according to The L.A. Times. In 1932, Dickie got the job that would define his career as a child actor, appearing in a series of Our Gang shorts (Our Gang is the official name of the franchise colloquially called “The Little Rascals”). Though he only worked on Our Gang for about a year, Moore became a standout actor on the series, being a described as “a most endearing leading man.”
— THECOUNT.COM (@THECOUNTnews) September 12, 2015
When World War II erupted, Moore, then a teenager, got a job working for the armed forces newspaper Stars and Stripes, covering news from the Pacific theater. He would later write that the skills he learned working on the newspaper – and later studying journalism at Los Angeles City College thanks to the G.I. Bill – helped him make the transition to day jobs after his acting career fizzled out.
“I had learned how to do something. I could edit a magazine, work on a newspaper.”
In his later years, Dickie Moore worked behind the cameras – directing, producing, even managing a talent agency.
Dickie Moore is survived by his wife, Jane Powell, as well as a son and a sister.
[Image courtesy of: Getty Images/General Photographic Agency]