Micky Moore, Acclaimed Second-Unit Director, Dies at 98

Micky Moore as a child actor in "Exit the Vamp" (1921).
Micky Moore as a child actor in "Exit the Vamp" (1921).
 Courtesy Everett Collection

Micky Moore, a child actor who went on to become a disciple of Cecil B. DeMille and a top-notch second-unit director on such films as Patton, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the first three Indiana Jones movies, has died. He was 98.

Moore died March 4 of congestive heart failure at his home in Malibu, he family told the Los Angeles Times.

When producer George Lucas and director Steven Spielberg needed a second-unit director for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Moore was their first choice.

“Micky Moore was exceptional. … He was confident behind the camera and knew when to speak up to make things better,” Lucas wrote in a foreword to Moore’s 2009 book, My Magic Carpet Ride of Films.

Moore suggested that the truck-chase scene he would helm in Raiders could be improved by moving it from a desert to narrow tree-lined streets to give it context. The results, Lucas wrote of the now-iconic scene, “speak for themselves.”

Moore also worked as a second or assistant director on such films as The Paleface (1948), The Great Gatsby (1949), The War of the Worlds (1953), DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1956), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), King Creole (1958), Blue Hawaii (1961), The Carpetbaggers (1964), Rooster Cogburn (1975), The Electric Horseman (1979), Never Say Never Again (1983) and, his final credit, 102 Dalmatians (2000). Most of his work came on action scenes.

He was the lead director on Elvis Presley’s Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966), The Fastest Guitar Alive (1967) starring Roy Orbison and Kill a Dragon (1967) with Jack Palance, and he helmed episodes of such TV series as Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, Hondo, Bonanza and Spielberg’s Amazing Stories.

A native of Vancouver, Moore worked in silent films as a child with such stars as Mary Pickford and Gloria Swanson -- one of his roles was as the 16th president's son Willie in The Dramatic Life of Abraham Lincoln (1924) -- and with DeMille. When Moore's acting career faded, the famed director got him a job in the prop department at Paramount.

Moore’s brother Patrick, who died at age 91 in 2004, also appeared in dozens of silent pictures, including DeMille's 1923 version of The Ten Commandments, and he also worked at Paramount behind the scenes.

Moore’s wife, Laurice Lillian Abdo-Moore, was another Paramount employee; her stay at the studio spanned more than 50 years. Abdo-Moore, who served as a personal assistant to producer Howard W. Koch Sr. for three-plus decades, died at age 87 in 2011.

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