Dickie Moore spent a small part of his life in Hollywood, but in 30 years, racked up 100 film credits. In his most famous, he smooched Shirley Temple.
Moore was 16 and Temple 14, when the two locked lips in 1942’s Miss Annie Rooney, about a woman who falls in love with a rich man. Dickie said it was his first kiss ever, but Shirley confessed that it wasn’t hers, The New York Times reported. He left his movie career behind a decade later.
On Monday, Dickie died at age 89. His wife, actress and fellow child star Jane Powell, said a couple years ago that her husband had been suffering from arthritis and dementia, The Hollywood Reporter added.
Dickie’s career began when he was only an infant. Born in 1925 in Los Angeles, he was 11-months-old when he starred alongside John Barrymore in 1927 silent film The Beloved Rogue; both Barrymore and Moore played 15th century French poet François Villon.
By age 4, he was a working actor making 12 films a year, Deadline added. By age 7, he had 20 film credits. By the time he was a teenager, the roles stopped coming in. And in the 1950s, Dickie made his last film.
Among his many, many credits: Blond Venus, The Story of Louis Pasteur, the Our Gang shorts that later became The Little Rascals, the title role in the first sound version of Oliver Twist, Sergeant York, and Heaven Can Wait. Moore’s last role was The Member of the Wedding in 1952; a couple years earlier, he was nominated for an Oscar for his involvement in the short film The Boy and The Eagle.
Dickie served in the Army as a Stars and Stripes reporter in the last two years of World War II then studied journalism. Afterward, when Moore left his grueling schedule behind, he went on to enjoy a long career in public relations — starting his own firm — and advertising.
But it was his years in Hollywood that inspired another of his most famous contributions to pop culture — a book that revealed what it was like to be a child star, in which he interviewed his wife, as well as Mickey Rooney, Natalie Wood, and Jackie Coogan. The book was called Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (But Don’t Have Sex or Take the Car).
One anecdote in the book came from Moore himself. As a child, he’d grown so accustomed to signing autographs that he took to signing his mother’s birthday card “from your friend Dickie Moore.”
“We were all very isolated. Shirley Temple told me she thought all children worked. … Many of us thought that was all there was. And we were in competition, too, of course. There was a big feeling of competition, and friendships were not encouraged.”
Dickie married Powell in 1988, his third marriage. She survives, as well as a son, Kevin; a stepson, Geary; two stepdaughters, Lindsay and Suzanne; a sister, Pat Kingsley; and several grandchildren and step-grandchildren.
[Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images]