The year was 1962, and Joanna Moore’s life was changing in remarkable ways. For one, the actress was able to recover from crippling, hereditary hearing loss through surgery. And on the other end? She wound up on-screen with both Andy Griffith and Elvis Presley himself.
Despite a difficult youth and the onset of total hearing loss, Joanna Moore always persevered. While many of her fans had no idea – and still don’t – Moore would struggle with complete, hereditary deafness just before her breakout roles alongside some of the biggest stars of all time.
“She couldn’t hear a phone ring and a radio turned up full blast sounded like a distant, blurred noise,” details the Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram in July of 1962. Soon, it became crippling. Directors would have to tap her on the shoulder, then mouth her dialogue to her just to get by.
“It was hereditary deafness and I didn’t realize what was happening until I lost my hearing completely,” she explains in the same ’62 article. Thankfully, Moore would soon find out she had otosclerosis – a fully treatable bone growth in the middle ear. And after Summer of ’62 surgery – she was right as rain.
Things quickly began turning around for the hard-working actor. Soon, Joanna Moore went from small television parts to a recurring, 4-episode role as love interest to Andy Griffith on ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’ But that was just the tip of the iceberg.
1962: The Year of Joanna Moore
Moore went on to have the biggest comeback year of her life. In addition to ‘Andy Griffith,’ she would book a role on ‘Route 66,’ then role of a lifetime.
Fans of Elvis Presley and his numerous films may know Joanna Moore – and not even realize they do. In Elvis’ 1962 musical film ‘Follow That Dream,’ Moore plays the brilliantly sly, seductive Alicia Claypoole.
Within, Elvis’ down-home Toby rejects the advances of ever-alluring social worker Alicia Claypoole (Moore), an ally the film’s big bad. To exact her revenge, Alicia sets forth legal action to have the children Elvis & his “Pop” care for taken away.
In a true case of ‘small world,’ the Elvis picture would also employ another ‘Andy Griffith’ star. Howard McNear plays George within ‘Follow That Dream,’ better known in Mayberry as barber Floyd.
As it turns out, Joanna Moore and Elvis had more in common than they thought. The two grew up amidst tragedy, with both overcoming poverty and loss of family. For more, head on over to Elvis Presley: The Tragic Story of His Twin Brother, Jesse Garon Presley next.