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Childhood

Colleen Moore was born Kathleen Morrison on August 19, possibly in 1899 but the actual year is in debate: documents seem to indicate this, but historians suggest it was 1900 (based on driver’s license and Social Security records. However, these records relied on the person applying to provide the vital statistics), and family says 1902.
 
She gave her birth year as 1902, though throughout this website it is assumed that 1899 is correct. The records are fuzzy on the point of her birth, and so it is possible the date will never be known for sure. In the August 1899 Port Huron Times (clipping below) an announcement was made of the birth of a daughter to Charles and Agnes Morrison. Maybe she was our future Colleen, maybe not.
 
She came out west at the age of 17 during a time when an actress in her mid-20s would be considered nearing the end of her career owing to the sensitivities of film stock still in wide

Above

A very young Agnes Morrison, future mother of Colleen Moore. Thanks to Judy Coleman.
use at the time. The orthochromatic sensitivity of common film stock rendered reds in positive prints as dark grays; this had the effect of making minor blemishes and small wrinkles very noticeable on the big screen… thus the use of heavy pancake makeup and the tendency of film companies to opt for younger actresses with fresh skin.

The 1899 is based upon census records of her family from 1900 (which indicated that the family of Charles and Agnes Morrison had a daughter Kathleen who had been born in the previous year), 1910 (which backs up the information from the 1900 records) and from church records from Tampa, Florida, where she received her First Communion in May of 1911 at the age of 11.