Erin O'Brien-Moore

Erin O'Brien-Moore (born Annette O'Brien-Moore, May 2, 1902 – May 3, 1979) was an American actress. She created the role of Rose in the original Broadway production of Elmer Rice's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Street Scene (1929), and was put under contract in Hollywood and made a number of films in the 1930s. Her promising career on the stage and screen was interrupted by severe injuries she sustained in a 1939 fire. Following her recovery and extensive plastic surgery she returned to the stage and character roles in films and television, including four seasons of the primetime serial drama Peyton Place (1965–68).

Erin O'Brien-Moore
O'Brien-Moore in The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
Annette O'Brien-Moore

ca. (1902-05-02)May 2, 1902
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedMay 3, 1979(1979-05-03) (aged 77)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1934-1970
Mark Barron
(m. 1936; div. 1946)
FamilyAinsworth O'Brien-Moore (brother)


Early life and beginning in the theaterEdit

O'Brien-Moore was born in Los Angeles,[2]: 36 to J.B.L. and Agnes O'Brien-Moore. Her father was publisher of the Tucson Citizen;[3] her older brother was classical scholar Ainsworth O'Brien-Moore.[4] She was educated at a convent in Arizona, and planned to become a painter until she saw Alla Nazimova on the stage, when she turned her attention to the theatre. She first appeared on Broadway in 1926 as a maid[5] in The Makropoulos Secret. In 1928, O'Brien-Moore played the female lead in E.E. Cummings' Him at the Provincetown Playhouse.[6] She was the star of Elmer Rice's Street Scene (1929), a naturalistic drama about life in a New York City tenement that ran for 601 performances on Broadway, toured throughout the United States, and received the Pulitzer Prize. During the play's six-month run in London, Aldous Huxley became an ardent fan of O'Brien-Moore and saw her performance at least three times.[7]

Career in HollywoodEdit

Erin O'Brien-Moore, Humphrey Bogart and Ann Sheridan in Black Legion (1937)

O'Brien-Moore's stage success led to a Hollywood contract and second-lead roles in films, including Black Legion (1937) with Humphrey Bogart. In The Life of Emile Zola (1937), with Paul Muni, she played the character who inspired the fictional character Nana.[7] Her other films include Dangerous Corner (1934), Little Men (1934), His Greatest Gamble (1934), Seven Keys to Baldpate (1935), Streamline Express (1935), Our Little Girl (1935), Two in the Dark (1936), The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936), Ring Around the Moon (1936), The Leavenworth Case (1936), Green Light (1937) and The Plough and the Stars (1937).[8]

Described by The New York Times as "a slender, dark-haired woman with fragile, beautiful features", O'Brien-Moore had a rising career that was interrupted by severe injuries she suffered January 22, 1939 in a fire. After she recovered from the accident, O'Brien-Moore resumed her acting career on radio, including Big Sister.[7]

After extensive plastic surgery, O'Brien-Moore returned to the stage and resumed her career in films and television.[7] In 1948, she performed on Kraft Television Theatre[citation needed] and in The Philco Television Playhouse presentation, "Street Scene". She took the role of Anna, and Betty Field played Rose,[citation needed] the role that O'Brien-Moore had created on the stage.[9]

She co-starred with Charlie Ruggles in the situation comedy The Ruggles (1950–52),[10]: 651 and in series including NBC Presents,[citation needed] General Electric Theater,[citation needed] Lux Video Theater,[citation needed] Alfred Hitchcock Presents,[citation needed] and Perry Mason ("The Case of the Deadly Verdict").[citation needed] She portrayed Miss Kelly in the 1961 pilot episode, "The Return," of the series Window on Main Street (1961–62),[citation needed] appeared in a 1965 episode of Kentucky Jones[citation needed] and played the role of Nurse Esther Choate in the TV version of Peyton Place for four seasons (1965–68).[10]: 596[citation needed]

Her later feature films include Destination Moon (1950), The Family Secret (1951), Sea of Lost Ships (1954), Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954), Peyton Place (1957) and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967).[8]

Personal life and last yearsEdit

O'Brien-Moore was married to Mark Barron, drama editor of the Associated Press in 1936. Their 10-year marriage ended in divorce.[7][11][12]

O'Brien-Moore died of cancer on May 3, 1979 at the Motion Picture Country Hospital in Los Angeles.[7][13]


Year Title Role Notes
1934 His Greatest Gamble Florence Stebbins
1934 Dangerous Corner Freda Chatfield
1934 Little Men Jo Bhaer
1935 Our Little Girl Sarah Boynton
1935 Streamline Express Mary Bradley
1935 Seven Keys to Baldpate Myra Thornhill
1936 Two in the Dark Olga Konar
1936 The Leavenworth Case Mrs. Silas (Gloria) Leavenworth
1936 Ring Around the Moon Gloria Endicott
1936 The Ex-Mrs. Bradford Mrs. Summers
1936 The Plough and the Stars Rosie
1937 Black Legion Ruth Taylor
1937 Green Light Pat Arlen
1937 The Life of Emile Zola Nana
1950 Destination Moon Emily Cargraves
1951 The Family Secret Ellen Clark
1953 Sea of Lost Ships Mrs. Nora O'Malley
1954 Phantom of the Rue Morgue Wardrobe Woman
1955 The Long Gray Line Mrs. Koehler
1957 Peyton Place Mrs. Evelyn Page
1962 Mooncussers Mrs. Feather
1967 How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying Gertrude Biggley uncredited


  1. ^ "St. Petersburg Times - Google News Archive Search".
  2. ^ Liebman, Roy (2003). Vitaphone Films: A Catalogue of the Features and Shorts. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0786446971.
  3. ^ "Mrs. O'Brien-Moore". The New York Times. May 19, 1964. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  4. ^ "Auto Crash Kills Dr. O'Brien-Moore". The New York Times. January 1, 1937. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  5. ^ "Erin O'Brien-Moore". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on October 30, 2019. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  6. ^ "Him Program (1928)". Retrieved 2020-02-14.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Goodman, George, Jr. (May 5, 1979). "Erin O'Brien-Moore, 77, Is Dead; Actress of Stage, Screen and TV". The New York Times. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Erin Moore-O'Brien". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  9. ^ "Street Scene". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (1988). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present (4th ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-35610-1.
  11. ^ Associated Press (December 8, 1936). "Film Actress and Newspaperman Wed". Amarillo Daily News.
  12. ^ Winchell, Walter (June 5, 1946). "Walter Winchell on Broadway". Burlington Daily Times-News.
  13. ^ "Actress Erin O'Brien-Moore". St. Petersburg Times. May 5, 1979. Retrieved October 17, 2015.

External linksEdit