A New Sybil's "WHO'Z DAT?"... DENNIE MOORE (December 30, 1902 - February 22, 1978)

Dennie Moore Collage.jpg

Darlings! Mummy has made a decision! After reading dozens of posts and having hundreds of conversations with well-meaning folks who just don't know about the great CHARACTER actors who gave films the depth and genius that surrounded and supported the so-called "stars", I am going to post a regular, special entry called SYBIL'S "WHO'Z DAT??"....there'll be photos and a mini-bio, and the next time you see one of those familiar, fabulous faces that you just "can't quite place".......well, maybe these posts will help. Some of these actors worked more, had longer and broader careers, and ended up happier, more loved, and even wealthier than the "stars" that the public "worships"......I think there may be a metaphor in that! What do you think??? …well while you’re considering it, I’d like to introduce one of those special actresses whose voice is instantly identifiable even though technically she had a very small amount of actual “screen time” in any particular picture. Her voice, her face, her mannerisms…all as vivid as the entire careers of many major stars! Her name?...Dennie Moore (December 30, 1902 – February 22, 1978).

Moore was born in New York City to Jewish parents, Oren Moore, a cantor at one of the local synagogues and Gabriella Gefen. Some sources indicate she was born Deena Rivka Moore, or possibly Florence Moore, but she legally changed her name to Dennie so as not to be confused with the Vaudevillian/silent film actress Florence Moore who was twenty years her senior. It has also been reported that she changed her forename given her parents' disapproval of her becoming an actress. In the late 1920s, she began to pursue an acting career on the Broadway stage. Her Broadway shows included A LADY IN LOVE, THE TRIAL OF MARY DUGAN, CROSS ROADS, TORCH SONG, TWENTIETH CENTURY, PHANTOMS, CONFLICT, ANATOL, and JARNEGAN.

In the 1930s, she decided to embark on a film career and in 1935 she arrived in Hollywood and made her screen debut in an uncredited role in the Cary Grant-Katharine Hepburn film, SYLVIA SCARLETT for RKO Pictures. She primarily was what is known as a "free-lance actress" and floated between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Bros. Studios. In the years to come she would specialize in playing dumb blondes, maids, and wisecracking but gold hearted sidekicks. In the course of her film career, she would appear in twenty-two films between 1935 and 1951. Some of her film credits include parts in TWENTIETH CENTURY (1934), BOY MEETS GIRL (1938), SATURDAY'S CHILDREN (1940), DIVE BOMBER (1941), and ANNA LUCASTA (1949). Of course, for film buffs, especially of Hollywood’s “Golden Age”, her appearance as Olga the manicurist in George Cukor’s THE WOMEN (1939) remains her highest achievement! Even though Moore is only briefly in two scenes, her presence is considered to be one of the most striking in a star-studded cast including the iconic Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Norma Shearer, and other character-actress mega-talents; Mary Boland, Paulette Goddard, Phyllis Povah, Lucile Watson, Marjorie Main, Virginia Grey, Ruth Hussey, and dozens of other fabulous women!

By the mid-1940s, Moore found herself getting less work in Hollywood, but more parts on the New York stage. In 1951, she made her last screen appearance as Mrs. Bea Gingras in THE MODEL AND THE MARRIAGE BROKER. During the course of her film and stage career she had acted with the greats including John and Lionel Barrymore, Carole Lombard, Errol Flynn, Marlene Dietrich, John Garfield, Joan Blondell, Edward Arnold, Melvyn Douglas, and Ginger Rogers.

Moving back to New York City she made one final performance onstage in THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK in the role of Mrs. Van Daan. In 1957, she retired from acting altogether, aged 54.

After her film career in Hollywood ended, Moore sold her home and permanently moved back to her native New York City, where she lived the rest of her life. Following her retirement she was active in campaigning civil rights for Jewish communities and women's rights. She did have an array of colorful friends from her acting days; they included Sylvia Sidney, Rosalind Russell and Norma Shearer (whom she was befriended by while they starred together in THE WOMEN), and June Clyde and Fay Wray (both Mormons0 whom she called the ''Loveliest Latter Days who ever lived." Moore died of natural causes on February 22, 1978, aged 75, in her Manhattan apartment on Park Avenue. She left no immediate survivors. She was cremated and her ashes scattered off her balcony onto the streets far below.

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