Cleo Moore grew to become a sought-after actress and pinup in the course of the ’50s, the period of the buxom blonde. (Courtesy of Richard Koper)
“Cleo linked with the fitting folks,” mentioned Koper. “She was witty, all the way down to Earth and, in fact, lovely. She had a whole lot of expertise and folks acknowledged that shortly. However all of the blondes in Hollywood auditioned for a similar components. All of them dated expertise agent Johnny Hyde, who, in fact, was enamored with Marilyn Monroe. However all of the individuals who labored with Cleo, those who’re nonetheless alive, all mentioned they loved working along with her. She was very likable and candy. From cameramen to producers, she linked with them.”
Cleo Moore was in comparison with Marilyn Monroe, however she was decided to face out. (GAB Archive / Redferns)
Moore additionally dated Fox star Victor Mature, who helped Moore get in touch with the casting division on the studio. However as Moore’s reputation grew, it proved troublesome to tip-toe out of 1 star’s shadow.
“Marilyn was all the time one or two steps earlier than her,’ Koper defined. “However Cleo additionally mentioned she actually preferred Marilyn. She remembered Marilyn as a candy lady. She was by no means hateful or vengeful. She wished Marilyn all one of the best. However she was pissed off with the studios and the lads who tried to copy-paste these impersonators. She wasn’t mad at Marilyn however moderately on the system. They needed to groom and move her as a greater substitute for Marilyn. I believe she hated it for Marilyn as a lot as she hated it for herself. However she by no means spoke badly about Marilyn.”
Moore was chosen by director Hugo Haas to be his muse. She starred in seven of his movies, together with 1953’s “Thy Neighbor’s Spouse” in addition to 1954’s “The Different Lady” and “Bait.”
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Cleo Moore was desperate to make an enormous splash – and she or he did simply that along with her kissing stunt. (Archive Images / Getty Photos / File)
However Moore wanted to make a significant splash. And he or she did simply that in 1954 by staging a televised kiss that lasted 5 minutes and 17 seconds. The stunt occurred in Chicago whereas she was interviewed by Jack Eigen for his TV present to advertise “Bait.” Throughout the sit-down, the pair spoke concerning the imposed limits on movie kisses. That’s when Eigen instructed that he and Moore lock lips. The smooch resulted in a whole lot of complaints from viewers, who insisted the reside incident was vulgar. Eigen refused to apologize and claimed he had approval from his spouse of 18 years. Eigen was fired.
Moore later remarked that she obtained a letter from Eigen’s spouse, saying that “he by no means kissed pretty much as good as that at house.”
“Cleo wasn’t afraid to push boundaries,” mentioned Koper. “Since she was the one one creating publicity for her movies, she crossed the road typically. She didn’t count on that the TV host would get fired. However she knew that kissing a married man on TV, on primetime, for that lengthy would make headlines. And it labored.”
Cleo Moore and Jack Eigen’s kiss sparked a whole lot of complaints from viewers. (Courtesy of Richard Koper)
Moore obtained surprising information – she was pregnant. Based on the e book, Moore “doubted who the daddy was.” It’s a scandal that might have destroyed her profession. She quietly gave beginning to a lady named Debra Lee. Moore’s 17-year-old sister, Jonnie Mae, was named the unwed mom of the kid.
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Cleo Moore quietly gave beginning to a daughter and averted public scandal. (Courtesy of Richard Koper)
“Cleo immediately disappeared,” mentioned Koper. “Her household stepped in to assist as a result of she was single. It will have precipitated an enormous scandal. … And in these days, there was no social media. You couldn’t examine something. You could possibly say you’re 5 years youthful or older. You could possibly reside with a lie and get away with it. A number of these ladies in Hollywood had their secrets and techniques. And the reality is, Cleo wasn’t that huge of a reputation like Marilyn, so it made it simpler for her to fade.”
Based on Koper, Moore launched her personal manufacturing firm the place she might make her personal negotiations for movies. However she was confronted with new competitors with extra blondes like Kim Novak, Anita Ekberg and Diana Dors. She discovered herself being ignored by producers who sought new, youthful faces. By 1956, her profession was over.
Cleo Moore, left, and Jayne Mansfield pose in entrance of an Oscar likeness on the Academy Awards circa 1956. (Hulton Archive / Getty Photos / File)
“She wasn’t 26 anymore,” mentioned Koper. “I believe she was conscious that her time was up, so she stepped again. However she stored attempting. She had this hearth in her to be this film star. And it simply didn’t occur the best way she would have preferred. I believe she was very unhappy about that.”
In 1960, Moore introduced that she would run for governor of Louisiana. The marketing campaign was unsuccessful. In 1961, she married builder Herbert Heftler. Based on the e book, Debra was adopted by Moore after the wedding. Moore discovered success in actual property, however Koper suspected she might have felt unfulfilled.
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Actress Cleo Moore and Arthur Marshall are proven in a scene from the 1953 film “One Woman’s Confession.” Richard Koper mentioned Cleo Moore’s Hollywood profession resulted in 1956. (Donaldson Assortment / Getty Photos / File)
“I believe throughout her last years, she was simply sad,” Koper mentioned. “These women from the ‘50s, by this level, had been thought-about old school. They had been ridiculed. And I believe she was dwelling in her personal time bubble. I believe there was a whole lot of disappointment that she couldn’t be this film star. I additionally couldn’t get any pictures from her final years, which was very unusual. It was as if she disappeared. Some family instructed me she stayed at house loads.”
Richard Koper confirmed that Cleo Moore was born in 1923, which meant she was 49 on the time of her loss of life. (Donaldson Assortment / Getty Photos)
Based on the e book, Moore spent a lot of her time in her bed room, shopping by scrapbooks, reminiscing about her previous. She would usually take heed to Elvis Presley or watch outdated movies. In 1973, Moore sank right into a deep melancholy after her mom died. Eight months after the matriarch’s passing, Moore was discovered unresponsive in her bed room. She died from a coronary heart assault at age 49.
“Cleo had a really sturdy bond along with her mom,” mentioned Koper. “Some folks mentioned she died of a damaged coronary heart, and it’s straightforward to see that. I spoke to some individuals who mentioned she was very depressed, which was out of character as a result of she was so full of life and humorous. I suppose folks can die from being sad. She was a lot too younger when she died. And it’s attention-grabbing, whenever you have a look at these well-known blondes, a whole lot of them died pretty younger, too.”
At this time, Koper hopes that his e book will assist at this time’s lovers of outdated Hollywood movies to find Moore and her work.
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Richard Koper is hopeful that followers of outdated Hollywood movies will uncover Cleo Moore’s work at this time. (Earl Leaf / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Photos / File)
“I believe it’s concerning the American dream, proper?” mentioned Koper. “The concept you can obtain something you need when you put your thoughts and coronary heart to it. I believe Cleo is an inspiration as a result of she labored onerous to be acknowledged by Hollywood within the ‘40s and ‘50s. She negotiated her personal contracts. She had huge desires. She was severe about pursuing politics. And perhaps that was a part of the frustration she confronted. However I’m hoping now that folks will uncover the persona behind the star.”
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