By MICHAEL OLDHAM | Contributing Writer
Irish-American actor and director Tom Moore’s name has been buried in Hollywood and Rustic Canyon history.
Palisadians who wish to take a day trip and stroll along the Hollywood Walk of Fame would soon come across Moore’s star inside the 1600 block of Vine Street.
Moore’s last home was on Latimer Road, which is a skinny pathway for cars. Latimer has a country-road feel to it.
Moore’s former home sits on nearly a half-acre lot, close to the Rustic Canyon Recreation Center. Today, strollers along Latimer Road in Rustic Canyon pass by a high green hedge fronting Moore’s former house.
Moore’s acting career was prolific during his time, and before his death, he had appeared in more than 200 films. Some nine or 10 decades back, the average movie-goer would not have been able to foresee anyone being unfamiliar with the name of Tom Moore, a onetime leading-man actor.
In the silent film era, Moore was popular almost from the day he stepped onto a moving-picture set. As early as 1912, he was starring in short films such as “The Young Millionaire” and “The Mystery of Grandfather’s Clock.”
Indeed, some short years later, Moore, who was born in Ireland in 1883, would have top billing in feature-length films such as “A Man and His Money” and “The City of Comrades”—both released in 1919. Moore’s name would appear on movie marquees, his eye-catching face splashed over lobby cards and film posters.
The handsome Moore was part of a trio of brothers and a sister who all acted in silent films. Tom was the oldest of the three brothers, who all played together in the 1929 film called “Side Street.”
Tom’s brother Owen was silent-film star legend Mary Pickford’s first husband.
The Moore brothers were all well known around Hollywood movie sets. So much so that Tom was once was confused with his actor brother Matt, on a movie lot, a February 1929 piece in Photoplay magazine described.
On a movie set, a man slapped Tom on the back and said, “Well, well, well, hello, Matt, old fellow, how are you? You’re looking well.”
Moore corrected the man with, “But I’m not Matt. I’m Tom.”
The man responded with, among other words, “One Moore is just as good as another. Glad to see you.”
Moore’s film talents were not only expressed in front of the camera lens, but behind it as well. He directed several films, including “The Mad Mountaineer” (1914) and “The Black Ring” (1915).
But acting served as the bulk of Moore’s career. The thick, wavy-haired Moore was perhaps best-known for starring in “Side Street” of 1929, “The Cabaret Singer” of 1915 and the 1919 film called “One of the Finest.”
Moore was frequently cast as the romantic lead. In fact, he became such a big leading romance star in the silent film era that at least one studio allowed him to pick his own leading ladies. He was said to have a habit of falling in love with each of his opposite female leads.
Moore’s face was indeed a screen favorite among the female movie-goers of the pre-talkie days. But Moore was seen by at least one fellow actress as a being too much aware of his good looks.
Silent star Priscilla Bonner did some films with Moore: “I worked in two pictures with Tom Moore. He was a star at MGM and a little vain. He was very attractive and a very good actor,” she described.
Still, Norbert Lusk wrote in Picture-Play Magazine in February 1923 that Moore was shy.
“The actor was shy of strangers, interviewers, shy even of seeing his name in print,” Lusk explained.
What Moore was not shy of was matrimony. He shared his 1923-built Latimer Road home with his third and final wife, actress Elinor Merry, also known as Eleanor Moore, whom he married in 1931.
Tom Moore’s two previous marriages were also to actresses. His first marriage was to silent star Alice Joyce; his second was to French actress Renée Adorée.
Moore died in Santa Monica in 1955 at the age of 71. Eleanor told the Los Angeles Times that on the week Moore died, he had told her that he would “go sometime this week.” She added that he “maintained his sense of humor and showed no fear right up to the end.”
Moore’s obituary ran on the Times’ front cover, a testimony to the actor’s fame at the time of his death.
His last words, his wife said, were: “I certainly will know how to play a death scene after this.”
Eleanor Moore died in Pacific Palisades in 1991.
Michael Oldham is the author of the novel “The Valentino Formula” and can be reached at email@example.com.
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