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1968 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Thomas W. Moore*

President Emeritus, ABC Television Network
Vineyard Owner

"Have confidence in yourself."

Thomas Moore was born in 1918 in Meridian, Mississippi. His father died before he was three, and his mother supported him and his two sisters as a schoolteacher. "I didn't realize until very late in life that I didn't have much as a child," he said. "The whole community was in the same boat." By the age of six, he was selling vegetables door to door. He went to work for the local newspaper when he was 10, bundling papers and delivering them to the trains.

Encouraged by his mother, Moore enrolled at Mississippi State University, and worked his way through by waiting on tables and cleaning the zoology labs. He left school to serve as a naval aviator in World War II. During his Navy service, he became intrigued by broadcasting and determined to make it his career. Moore remembered vividly the first time he saw television. "It was in 1948," he said. "I walked into the back of a truck and saw, of all things, an Easter sunrise service on a screen. I'd never been so shocked in my life. It would have been difficult not to envision that television would soon take over. I knew immediately that it would be my life."

Moore began his career selling radio advertising in Los Angeles and attending night school at the University of Southern California. He soon switched to television sales for CBS, and in 1957 joined the ABC network in New York as vice president of sales. By 1968, Moore became president of the ABC Television Network, the title he held when he received his Horatio Alger Award. Two years later, he left ABC to found Ticketron with a group of investors. He left that enterprise after two years and formed a company called Tomorrow Entertainment, which produced television classics such as The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Body Human, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and many others.

Moore and his wife Claire owned and operated a cattle ranch and vineyard in St. Helena in California's Napa Valley. While he did not make wine, his grapes were sold to the Robert Mondavi Winery for the Private Reserve program.

A lifelong supporter of the Navy, Moore was the first president of the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola and helped raise more than $30 million to construct and develop the museum.

While he attained much success in his life, Moore said he has no definition for success. "At no time in my life have I felt I was a success," he said. "I think succeeding is feeling that the better and best is yet to come." He advised young people to think of how they can be of service to others.

Of his Horatio Alger Award, Moore said he had no idea when he received his award in 1968 that the organization would build into an institution for so much good. "I have watched the Association grow and succeed," he said, "and I wear and display the badge of membership with pride."

* Deceased