A former child actor known for roles in early talking films — who was also one of the last surviving actors from the silent era — has died. The New York Times reports that Dick Moore, known as Dickie Moore for much of his acting career, died Monday in Connecticut. He was 89.
Moore was known for playing the movies’ first talking version of Oliver Twist in the 1933 feature adaptation of the Charles Dickens tale. He also shared a famous on-screen kiss with Shirley Temple in the 1942 film “Miss Annie Rooney” — either Temple’s first or second on-screen kiss, depending on sources.
“Mr. Moore claimed that the much-ballyhooed kiss he gave Shirley Temple in “Miss Annie Rooney” (1942) — he was 16, she was 14 — was his first kiss on-screen or off (though Temple, as she admitted in her autobiography, couldn’t say the same),” The Times reports.
Moore appeared in almost 100 movies in a career spanning 1927-1952, later becoming a public relations executive. He lived in Wilton, Conn.
“Mr. Moore was not yet a year old and evidently cute as a button when he made his movie debut in the 1927 silent feature ‘The Beloved Rogue,’ which starred John Barrymore as the 15th-century French poet and gadabout François Villon,” the story reports. “Young Dickie, uncredited, played Villon as an infant.”
Moore was a regular on the “Our Gang” series in 1932 and 1933. He later wrote a book, published in 1984, about the plight of child actors called “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (But Don’t Have Sex or Take the Car).”
Here’s a clip from “Miss Annie Rooney” featuring Moore with Shirley Temple. The clip does not include the famous kiss, but it features some fine jitterbugging along with the surprising use of the word “groovy” a quarter-century before its adoption by the Woodstock generation. Worth checking out: