Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (but don't have sex or take the car)
By Dick Moore, Harper & Row, 1984
Cute Little Rascal
Dick Moore is one of those actors I keep seeing, but have never paid enough attention to. His is a distinctive look, with those large, brown eyes, and general sweetness.
Moore's career began at age 18 months in the film, The Beloved Rogue (1927), as baby John Barrymore and continued fairly steadily until he retired from acting in 1957 at the ripe old age of 29. Like many child performers before him, the lion's share of his work and box office appeal occurred before he turned 10, by which time he had made 52 pictures, not the least of which were a year's worth of the early "Our Gang" shorts.
Unlike most of his contemporaries, Moore had a fairly good run in juvenile parts through the 1940s, and even took time to finish college and serve in the Second World War. A fact often cited during this period in his career is that he was the actor chosen to give Shirley Temple her first screen kiss. It was his first kiss ever, but not hers, as she was fond of saying. Just seems like something to mention.
By the end of the decade, the parts did begin to dry up and Moore turned to television for a while before quitting acting altogether, Afterward, Moore became an editor and public relations man for Actors Equity and had a very successful post-film career.
In 1984, Dick Moore interviewed 31 former child actors for his book Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (But don't have sex or take the car), a fascinating, sad and sensitive insight into the lives and problems faced by his cohort during Hollywood's golden age. It was in the process of writing this book that Moore met and began dating Jane Powell, an actress who survived child stardom in much the same way he did. They married in 1988 and are together to this day.