Filled Under: Dennie Moore
Dennie Moore (December 31, 1902 – February 22, 1978) was an American film and stage actress who made a career playing secretaries, maids, department store clerks, busybodies, roommates, and wives. Moore will always be remembered as the chatty manicurist who spills the beans to Norma Shearer about her husband’s illicit affair with Joan Crawford in the classic “The Women” (1939).
Dennie Moore was born Deena Rivka Moore on New Year’s Eve 1902 in New York City to Jewish parents Oren Moore, a cantor at one of the local synagogues, and Gabriella Gefen. In the late 1920s, Moore decided to pursue an acting career on the Broadway stage. Using the name Dennie because her family did not approve of her career move based on their religious views, Moore began her career on Broadway in 1927, appearing in such plays as “A Lady in Love”, “The Trial of Mary Dugan”, “Cross Roads”, “Torch Song”, “Twentieth Century”, “Phantoms”, “Conflict”, “Anatol”, and “Jarnegan”. By the time she made her screen debut in 1935, Moore had over twenty stage roles to her credit. Her first screen appearance was in an uncredited role opposite Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in “Sylvia Scarlett” (1935) for RKO Radio Pictures. In the course of her film career, Moore would star in twenty-two films between 1935 and 1951, mostly as a “free-lance actress” floating primarily between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Brothers Studios. Some of her film credits include parts in “The Perfect Speciman” (1937), “Boy Meets Girl” (1938), “The Women” (1939), “Bachelor Mother” (1939), “Saturday’s Children” (1940), “Dive Bomber” (1941), and “Anna Lucasta” (1949) appearing alongside such actors as Edward Arnold, Victor Jory, Marlene Dietrich, Melvyn Douglas, Edward Everett Horton, Norma Shearer, Errol Flynn, Joan Blondell, Pat O’Brien, Ann Sheridan, George Brent, David Niven, John Garfield, Rosalind Russell, Fred MacMurray and Ginger Rogers. In 1951, Moore made her last screen appearance as Mrs. Bea Gingras in “The Model and the Marriage Broker”.
Following her last screen role Moore sold her house in Hollywood and permanently moved backed to her birthplace of New York City where she made one final performance on stage in “The Diary of Anne Frank” in the role of Mrs. Van Daan. In 1957 at the age of fifty-four she retired from acting altogether. Moore spent her retirement speaking on behalf of women’s rights and civil liberties in Jewish communities.
Dennie Moore died of natural causes in her New York apartment on February 22, 1978. She had no survivors or immediate family when she died and upon her death was promptly cremated and her ashes scattered over the balcony of her New York City apartment. Moore was seventy-five years old at the time of her death.