About Micky
Fast Facts

From the Palisadian-Post (article reproduced from palisadespost.com):

Rich Schmitt / Staff Photographer
Micky Moore, 95, at his Malibu residence


Micky Moore's 'Magic Carpet' Ride

The Actor and Director, 95, Will Talk About His Remarkable Hollywood Career at Village Books

June 04, 2009

Michael Aushenker, Staff Writer

Director, actor, assistant director, second-unit director, master property man. And now add 'author' to the long list of Micky Moore's entertainment-industry endeavors.

Moore, 95, and best known for his second-unit directing work on such films as 'Patton,' 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and 'The Man Who Would Be King,' will sign copies of his memoir, 'My Magic Carpet of Films: A Personal Journey in the Motion Picture Industry, 1916'2000' (BearManor Media) on Tuesday, June 9 at Village Books on Swarthmore.

'What's amazing is that people all over the world know Micky's name and what he worked on,' said Judi Devin, Moore's personal assistant of 10 years. 'Today, we got an e-mail from a man in Uzbekistan asking for an autographed picture from the book. How remarkable is that.'

Drawing on a Hollywood career that spanned nearly nine decades, Moore's life has intersected with some of the greatest film actors, directors and producers in the history of cinema.

Born Dennis Michael Sheffield in 1914 in Victoria, British Columbia, Moore began working as an actor at 18 months of age. With his late brother, Pat Moore, Moore played in four films (no longer in existence) for the American Film Manufacturing Company's Santa Barbara-based The Flying A Studios in 1916; the same year he moved with his family to Los Angeles at the dawn of Hollywood's golden age.

Joining the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation in 1916, he played in nearly 50 films through 1929 and worked with Mary Pickford several times.

'He was a good actor,' Devin says. 'He went on to star in 'Pollyanna' in 1920, which was a very successful film for Mary. She was already a big star.'

In his early years, Moore often turned to director Cecil B. DeMille, who became his mentor and father figure and played a pivotal role at key turning points throughout his life. In 1933, after some lean acting years, he returned to the legendary 'The Ten Commandments' director, for whom he had worked steadily as a young actor, with an interest to start a new career.

'He's the one I went to in Paramount,' Moore recalls. 'I said, 'Mr. DeMille, I'd like to get back into the business.' He said, 'You mean you want to be an actor?' I said, 'No, I want to be a prop man.''

And so, beginning with DeMille's 'Cleopatra' (1934), Moore worked as a prop master for such directors as King Vidor ('So Red the Rose') and Preston Sturges ('The Miracle of Morgan's Creek'). Essentially, the former child star had embarked on a journey which, from 1933 until 2000, saw him graduating from property master to assistant director to second-unit director.

With 'Rope of Sand,' a 1949 movie starring Burt Lancaster and Claude Rains, Moore took the reins of a new role''second assistant director''capturing establishing shots, horses, vehicle chases''you name it!

Moore's book is brimming with anecdotes from his time working with such illustrious names as Gary Cooper, Katharine Hepburn, George Cukor and John Huston. He also worked with Elvis Presley on 'King Creole.' Moore writes: 'There are stories from many people that put Elvis in a bad light. It's hard for me to say anything but good things about him. The Elvis I worked with was always a hard worker, never too tired to put out his best...He was always polite, even a bit formal. From the start, when working as a first assistant on a picture with Elvis, he always called me 'Mr. Moore.' I would say, 'Elvis, it's Micky.' To the last day I directed him in 'Paradise, Hawaiian Style,' it was still 'Mr. Moore.''

No less than Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, the most commercially successful directors of all time, wrote the foreword to 'Magic Carpet' because Moore did second-unit work on the original three 'Indiana Jones' movies, including the classic truck chase scene from 'Raiders.' Using visuals culled from the movie and its storyboards, Moore's book sheds light on filming the sequence, which was shot in Tunisia. 'The whole opening of the script was the main shot when they're coming down a mountain and jumping into the German truck,' Moore says. 'I had a wonderful crew and it seemed to work out.'

However, staging that truck chase nearly cost Moore his life. He writes, 'The driver made too sharp a turn and the car went out of control'into a sand bank. It came to an all-too-sudden stop. My groin smashed against a rear spare tire.' Moore was taken to London for an operation, but he came out of the ordeal intact, later working on the next two 'Indiana Jones' sequels.

Moore considers Spielberg a generous director. In his book, he recalls Spielberg asking his advice on an area where he wanted to shoot the truck chase, and Moore advising against the poor terrain. 'There was a short pause before Steven turned to Norman Reynolds, the production designer, and said, 'Norman, you and Micky see if there are better locations to make the chase more exciting.' This showed me that I was working with a director who was not afraid to delegate.'

Of all his Hollywood m'tiers, Moore preferred working as a second-unit director. 'Going over the storyboards with the director, planning everything,' Moore says. 'It's the best aspect of the job.' Moore remembers working as a second-unit director on 'Sometimes a Great Notion' (1971) and urging star Paul Newman to take over as the film's director at a time when actors were not encouraged to do so.

'Micky is a little bit of a 'Forrest Gump,'' Devin says. 'He was there at the right place at the right time and he gave Paul a little push.'

A resident of Malibu since 1950, Moore worked on Frank Tashlin's goofball Bob Hope/Jane Russell western, 'Son of Paleface.' It was one of his first gigs as a first assistant director after working as a property master on the original 'Paleface' comedy.

Moore speaks very highly of Hal Wallis, the Paramount-based producer behind many Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis films which Moore had worked on. He reserves a particular fondness for the nutty Lewis.

'Jerry was a lot of fun to work with,' Moore says of the legendary comedian and one-time honorary mayor of Pacific Palisades. 'He was always up to some stupid thing. On one of the pictures, Jerry got my watch and he broke it. I said, 'Jesus, Jerry that was a gift from my mother, who is not here anymore.' He felt bad about it. He went out and bought me a watch that cost three times more than the one I had.'

Moore is particularly proud of his work on 'Patton' (1970), which won seven Academy Awards. His second-unit credits also include 'Mame,' 'Airport '77,' 'National Lampoon's European Vacation,' and even the notorious bomb 'Ishtar.'

In the 1990s, Moore, who had worked on both versions of DeMille's 'Ten Commandments' (including the famous 1956 remake starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner), was invited with his brother to the archeological site where they discovered the half-buried sets of DeMille's original 1923 version buried in the sand dunes of California's central coast.

Moore's last professional credit before retiring was 2000's live-action sequel '102 Dalmatians' (he had also worked on the 1996 original). Now retired from the movie business, Moore keeps active around his Malibu neighborhood. 'He is more athletic than most of my friends,' says Devin, 62, of Moore today. 'He hikes in the hills here in Malibu. He swims at Pepperdine. I'm not that physically fit!'

He currently lives with wife Laurie and his children from his first wife, Esther, the mother of daughters Tricia and Sandy. Esther passed away in 1992. Moore has five grandsons and four great-grandchildren.

Moore worked closely with Devin over a six-year period to produce his memoir. And he is looking forward to his Pacific Palisades book signing, where, Devin says, cinema lovers will be delighted to meet Moore and learn about his charmed career.

'He's one of those unsung heroes of the field who make the famous people look good,' Devin says.