Owen Moore

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Owen Moore
Moore in 1914
Born(1886-12-12)12 December 1886
Fordstown Crossroads, County Meath, Ireland
Died9 June 1939(1939-06-09) (aged 52)
Resting placeCalvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles
Years active1908-1937
(m. 1911; div. 1920)
(m. 1921)
RelativesBrothers: Tom, Matt and Joe Moore

Owen Moore (12 December 1886[1] – 9 June 1939) was an Irish-born American actor, appearing in more than 279 movies spanning from 1908 to 1937.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Moore was born in Fordstown Crossroads, County Meath, Ireland. Along with his parents, John and Rose Anna Moore, brothers Tom, Matt, and Joe, and sister Mary, he emigrated to the United States as a steerage passenger on board the S.S. Anchoria. The Moore family were inspected on Ellis Island in May 1896 and settled in the Toledo, Ohio area. Moore and his siblings went on to successful careers in motion pictures in Hollywood, California.

While working at D. W. Griffith's Biograph Studios, Moore met a young Canadian actress named Gladys Smith, whom he married on January 7, 1911. Their marriage was kept secret at first because of the strong opposition of her mother. However, Smith soon overshadowed her husband under her stage name, Mary Pickford. In 1912, he signed on with Victor Studios, co-starring in a number of their films with studio owner/actress Florence Lawrence.

Moore with Florence Lawrence in a scene still from a silent drama, possibly The Redemption of Riverton (1912)

Pickford left Biograph Studios to join the Independent Moving Pictures (IMP) to replace their star, Florence Lawrence. Carl Laemmle, the owner of IMP (IMP later merged into Universal Studios), agreed to sign Moore as part of the deal. This humiliation, together with his wife's meteoric rise to fame, drastically affected Moore, and alcohol became a problem that led to violent behavior and his physically abusing Pickford. In 1916, Pickford met actor Douglas Fairbanks. In 1920, Pickford filed for divorce from Moore when she agreed to his demand of $100,000 settlement.[3] Pickford and Fairbanks married days later.

(L-R): Owen Moore, Victory Bateman, Gladden James and Florence Lawrence in After All (1912)

Moore appeared in many successful films for Lewis J. Selznick (father of producer David O. Selznick and agent Myron Selznick), in the late teens and early 1920s. He was a popular star at Selznick Pictures along with Olive Thomas, Elaine Hammerstein, Eugene O'Brien and Conway Tearle. He also appeared in films for his own production company as well as Goldwyn and Triangle.

Moore married a second time to silent film actress, Katherine Perry, in 1921. With the advent of sound film, Moore's career declined, and he became a supporting actor for newer stars. He competed, as the third lead, with Cary Grant and Noah Beery, Sr. for the attentions of Mae West in She Done Him Wrong, Paramount's most lucrative film of 1933. His last film appearance was as a movie director in the 1937 drama A Star Is Born, starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March – ironically a movie about a former film star who turned to alcohol, much like himself at that time.


After years of fighting alcoholism, Moore was found dead on June 9, 1939, in his apartment in Beverly Hills, California. An Associated Press news report said that he "apparently had been dead two days". An autopsy was scheduled for the next day.[4]

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Moore has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6727 Hollywood Boulevard.[2]

Selected filmography[edit]

Moore in the 1916 film Under Cover
Moore and Dorothy Gish in silent drama Betty of Graystone (1916)


  1. ^ U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007
  2. ^ a b "Hollywood Star Walk". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  3. ^ Peggy Dymond Leavey, Mary Pickford: Canada's Silent Siren, America's Sweetheart. Dundurn Press (2011), p. 110
  4. ^ "Owen Moore found dead in California". The New York Times. Associated Press. 10 June 1939. p. 36. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  5. ^ Hans J. Wollstein. "High Voltage". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 10 August 2013.

External links[edit]