Monday, May 1, 2017

Born Today May 1: Tom Moore


Thomas J. Moore, silent movie star and director, was born on this day in Fordstown Crossroads, County Meath in Ireland.  He, along with his siblings, immigrated to the United States in 1896.  Two of his brothers, Owen and Matt, also had successful careers in films starting in the silent era.  The family at first settled in the Toledo, Ohio area.  Eventually the two eldest brothers (of which Tom was the oldest) landed debut roles in film.  In Tom's case this came in the D.W. Griffith short The Test Of Friendship that starred Griffith's wife at the time in 1908.  This is when Griffith was still working for American Mutoscope and still making films in New Jersey.  He continued to work for Griffith through 1909, but by 1912 he was with Kalem, with the shot on location The Belle Of New Orleans being his first film for them.  He made his directorial debut in 1914, where he directed himself in The Mad Mountaineer.  Though directing would prove not be his thing, he did direct 17 short films in 1914 and 1915, the last of which was The Legacy Of Folly, in which he also appeared.  All of these films were for Kalem.  His first confirmed full length film appearance came in 1917 in the western The Jaguar's Claw.  By this time he was working for the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company.  In 1921, he was voted by a trade magazine as one of the top 15 male lead actors in Hollywood.  The first sound film that he appeared was Side Street in 1929, his two actor brothers appeared along side him.  It was a full mono sound production, with sound by RCA Photophone System.  He did manage to make the sound transition, but his star was beginning to fade by the early 1930's, so he quit acting in 1936, and would not be back for ten years.  Because he was forced to seek work with various small film production companies in the 1930's, he was one of the silent era's only super stars to be adversely affected by the depression, when many of these companies went out of business.  He returned to acting in late 1946 and would continue to make film appearances until his death in 1955.  He made his television debut in 1953 on the series Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, in an episode entitled The Avenging Gunman.  His last film appearance came in The Human Jungle in 1954.  His final filmed appearance came in the television series The Human Jungle in the episode Your Favorite Story.  During his lifetime, he was married three times; two of those marriage were to silent film actresses.  He was first married to Alice Joyce, with whom he had a daughter Alice, who had a brief acting career in the 1930's.  His second marriage was to French sensation Renée Adorée.  He was even the subject of a This Is Your Life episode in 1954.  Moore died on the 12th of February in Santa Monica, after battling cancer.  Although there are currently no photos, Tom was buried in Catholic Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles along with at least two of his brothers, Owen and Matt.  

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