Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tom Moore

I'm back!

Thank you all for being so patient with me and above all, kind! I was stuck in a job that I hated and it really was sucking the life out of me. I didn't want to write or research or anything and it was just a dark few months. A new job and a new year has given me a much lighter spirit and I have the writing spirit back! So happy for that. I can finally post these entries I have been working on and also get the podcast all situated and figured out. A lovely and talented friend of mine even created a logo for the podcast and it looks amazing and I am super excited! I will give you more updates on that as things unfold.

Also, I was contacted about possibly starting a fundraising campaign to get Joseph Keaton, the father of Buster Keaton, a headstone. More info soon I hope! 

Anyway, on to the Moore brothers!

Tom Moore was born Thomas J. Moore on May 1, 1883 in Fordstown Crossroads, County Meath, Ireland. He was the oldest child born to John and Rose Anna Moore. He was soon joined by brothers Owen, Matt, and Joe and a younger sister, Mary. All the Moore children would appear in films, but the three older brothers had the most prominent careers.

The Moores would eventually emigrate to the United States on the S.S. Anchoria and land on Ellis Island in the Spring of 1896. They were inspected, given the OK and eventually settled near Toledo, Ohio (near my hometown, woohoo!)

Tom made his screen debut in the 1908 short,  The Christmas Burglars, starring Florence Lawrence. 

Tom had quite the hefty film resume, 205 films from 1908 to 1954. Most of his beginning career was working in shorts, but, still, impressive! During his almost fifty years in Hollywood his frequent leading ladies were Alice Joyce, Anna Q. Nilsson, and Marguerite Courtot. He would also appear a few times each with his brothers and sister.

Now, 205 films is a lot to go through, so I just didn't have the energy to go through every single one to find little tidbits and whatnot. HOWEVER, there were a few that stuck out to me that I wanted to share merely because of the character Tom played.

Silent film character names always tickled me. I have done two entries about flapper names alone! The first film that caught my eye was a 1913 short called The Bachelor and the Hunchback in which Tom played a character named Johnny 'Humpty' Johnson/The Fiend. I don't know about you, but I immediately get that "Humpty Dance" stuck in my head. Then there is the 1915 short, The Girl and the Bachelor in which Tom played George Blandon - Confirmed Bachelor. I always find that term amusing, especially since during the early days of Hollywood it usually was a term used to refer to an actor who was gay. William Haines. Ramon Novarro. "Confirmed bachelors." Anyway, those amused me.

Tom and Mabel Normand

Tom not only acted but he also directed! He directed about 17 shorts from 1914-1915. It should be noted that he starred in most of them. 

Tom's finally film was 1951's The Redhead and the Cowboy, starring Glenn Ford. He did continue to appear in various television shows until finally retiring in 1954.

Tom Moore passed away on February 12, 1955 in Santa Monica, California. He was cremated and reportedly his ashes are still at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory in Los Angeles.

It is worth noting that although Tom was the oldest of the Moore siblings only his brother Matt outlived him, dying just five years later in 1960. Owen Moore would die in 1939 from a heart attack, brother Joe died in 1926 also from a heart attack, and sister Mary died in 1919 from influenza while working as a nurse in France.

Tom and Ford Sterling

Tom was married three times. His first marriage was to actress Alice Joyce. Tom had been Alice's leading man in a number of films and the two would marry in 1914. They had a daughter, Alice Mary in 1916 and she too would appear in a few films as a child. 

The marriage appeared to be troubled before they officially divorced around 1920. In a 1917 magazine article about Alice Joyce and motherhood, Tom wasn't even mentioned. Ouch. 

In 1921 Tom married French actress, Renee Adoree. The two had been having a whirlwind affair for two months before tying the knot. The bliss didn't last however and the two would divorce in 1926.

His third and final marriage was to yet another actress, Eleanor Merry. The pair married in 1931 and I believe remained married until his death. They also reportedly had a child together, but I can't find any supporting information. 

Naomi Childers and Tom

"Exhibitors everywhere have found that Tom Moore just goes over big. They know that their patrons all admire Tom Moore. They know that they always do business when it's a Tom Moore picture. No wonder he's popular when they say such things about him."   -- Moving Picture World, March 1919