Marcia Moore: The Road From Oz

Chicago local Marcia Moore (1891-1920) started on the stage with stock companies at the age of four and spent several years in vaudeville as a dancer. She was all of 18 years old when she was cast in the lead of Little Nell in Essanay’s 1909 adaptation of Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop. This led to roles in Selig Polyscope’s three Oz films: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and the Scarecrow in Oz, and The Land of Oz, all in 1910. 40 more films followed through 1919, for such studios as Rex ad the Nestor imprint of Universal. In 1919 she married writer Jo Swerling, just prior to his work with the Marx Brothers, on the tab show The Street Cinderella and their silent film Humor Risk, and a long career as a screenwriter and Broadway playwright. But Moore was not around to enjoy that career with him. She died less than a year after the marriage, most probably in the Spanish flu pandemic. 

To learn more about vaudeville, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on silent film please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.