January 2, 2017


Kieron Moore [Kieron O'Hanrahan] (1924-2007) b. Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland.

Kieron Moore

Tall, rugged, intense-looking film and television actor born Kieron O’Hanrahan in Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland. The son of a fervent Irish nationalist writer, Moore was educated at the Irish-language school Colaiste Mhuire run by the Christian Brothers. He appeared in two Gaelic plays at the Little Peacock Theatre, and as a result abandoned his medical studies at University College Dublin and joined the Abbey Players, where he had notable success.

Aged 19 he moved to England; his brooding good looks won him the role of Heathcliff in a dramatisation of Wuthering Heights at the Richmond Theatre. His first film role, billed as Kieron O’Hanrahan, was as an IRA killer in The Voice Within (1945), which fostered belief in his potential. After making his West End debut in the smash hit play Red Roses for Me, which moved from the Embassy to Wyndham’s Theatre, Alexander Korda’s London Film Productions offered him a seven-year contract provided he changed his name to Kieron Moore.

In Leslie Arliss’ effective and popular melodrama A Man about the House (1947), he played a sinister butler in Italy. His next part was that of the schizophrenic former RAF pilot in Anthony KimminsMine Own Executioner (1947), a successful psychological thriller that confirmed hopes in him. In 1947, he married the actress Barbara White, whom he had murdered in Mine Own Executioner.

But Moore never quite became the major star Korda must have had designed for him and stumbled badly when miscast in the role of suave Count Vronsky in Julien Duvivier’s lavish version of Anna Karenina (1948). The critical notices were scathing and much of the rest of Moore’s work was in support roles. His next starring vehicle, the comedy Saints and Sinners (1949), was an uneasy mixture of Irish whimsy and melodrama that received limited release.

In 1951 Moore accepted two supporting, but prominent, roles in Hollywood. In Henry King’s biblical epic David and Bathsheba (1951) he was the cuckolded Hittite Uriah. In the more light-hearted adventure tale, Ten Tall Men (1951), starring Burt Lancaster, Moore was a flirtatious French Foreign Legion officer.

He returned to the British screen somewhat deflated with featured roles in the "B" thrillers Mantrap (1953), as an escaped criminal tracking down the killer for whose crime he was convicted, and Recoil (1953). He won praise for his portrayal of a deaf and blind mute who confesses to a murder in the mistaken belief that his wife is the guilty one in The Green Scarf (1954). There then followed two socially-aware melodramas for Group 3; as a Korean war veteran training sea cadets in The Blue Peter (1954), and as an RAF officer confronted by locals wishing to protect a bird sanctuary in Conflict of Wings (1954).

In The Siege of Sidney Street (1960), shot in an Irish location and loosely based on fact, Moore was one of a group of Russian anarchists who barricade themselves against a police raid. Latterly, Moore earned two of his most memorable roles; as the covert homosexual former officer recruited to take part in a large-scale robbery in Basil Dearden‘s enormously popular comedy-thriller The League of Gentlemen (1960), and as a marine biologist who discovers that the carnivorous plants threatening to overrun the planet can be killed by salt water in an adaptation of John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids (1962). After 20 years he retired from acting in 1966.

When Moore joined Cafod he expected to stay only for six months, but remained for seven years, touring the Middle East and making documentaries about developing nations Peru and Senegal; The Progress of Peoples (1975) and Parched Land (1979). After this he became an associate editor of the Catholic paper. Among his last pieces of work were documentaries for RTE about the He retired to the Charante Maritime in France where he joined the church choir and became a hospital visitor.

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