Filmmaker Micky Moore, who began working in the movie industry as a child actor in silent films in 1916 and later collaborated with figures as diverse as Cecille B. Demille and Steven Spielberg, died March 4 at his home in Malibu, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was 98.
Moore was a toddler when he made his debut in silent films, more than a decade before the first “talkie” lit up American movie screens. Later in his career, he transitioned to second-unit directing, earning plaudits for his work on films such as “Patton,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and the original “Indiana Jones” trilogy, the Times reported.
In 2009, the then-95-year-old Moore spoke to The Malibu Times from his Latigo Shore home about his career, which effectively spanned 85 cinematic years. He had just published a memoir of his years in the film industry, “My Magic Carpet of Films: A Personal Journey in the Motion Picture Industry 1916-2000.”
“Believe me, when I was making all those movies, I didn’t think to myself, ‘Gee, that’ll make a great book someday,” Moore said. “It might be my first book, but it’s also my last. It was a lot of work.”
The work of writing the book entailed sorting and archiving material that catalogues more than 200 films, including notes, scripts, storyboards, production stills and glowing letters of love and appreciation from the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Jerry Lewis, Richard Zanuck, Elvis Presley, George Lucas and Dustin Hoffman.
After calling time on his career as a child actor, Moore worked on fishing boats off the Santa Monica Pier and married his high school sweetheart, Esther. With a family to support, he got back into the film business with the help of producer Cecil B. Demille. Eventually he worked his way up from assistant director, then second unit director, then director, on films as diverse as “Mame” and “Patton.” He worked with Elvis Presley in his Hawaiian movies. He made “road” movies with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. He was second unit director for John Wayne’s next-to-last movie, “Rooster Cogburn.”
He later gained a reputation as a top second unit director, including his work on action scenes in the first three “Indiana Jones” movies. A second unit crew films shots such as scenery, crowds and inserts.
“If you are good, you shouldn’t even be aware that a second unit director has been involved,” Moore said. “I just did the best I could possibly do on each shot, so they kept asking me to make more movies.”