Mary Pickford

Actor, Producer, Screenwriter
Long before Charlie Chaplin ever met Mack Sennett, silent film actress Mary Pickford had become the first superstar of a burgeoning movie business with her collaboration with director D. W. Griffith. Having broken into ... Read more »
Born: 04/08/1893 in Toronto, Ontario, CA

Filmography

Actor (9)

Behind the Scenes 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

Mary Pickford, The Muse of the Movies 2014 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Secrets 1932 (Movie)

(Actor)

Coquette 1928 (Movie)

Norma Besant (Actor)

Sparrows 1925 (Movie)

Mollie (Actor)

The Love Light 1920 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Informer 1911 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Old Actor 1911 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Dream 1910 (Movie)

(Actor)
Producer (2)

The Gay Desperado 1935 (Movie)

(Producer)

Coquette 1928 (Movie)

(Producer)

Biography

Long before Charlie Chaplin ever met Mack Sennett, silent film actress Mary Pickford had become the first superstar of a burgeoning movie business with her collaboration with director D. W. Griffith. Having broken into movies in 1909, Pickford became such as a fast-rising star, that by 1916 she was making an unprecedented $10,000 a week and a percentage of the profits. She rode the wave to stardom as the curly blonde, elfin moppet in "Tess of the Storm Country" (1914), "Madame Butterfly" (1915), "The Poor Little Rich Girl" (1917) and "The Little American" (1917). She had big hits with "Stella Maris" (1918), "Daddy Long Legs" (1919) and "Little Lord Fauntleroy" (1921). In 1919, Pickford - along with Charlie Chapin, D.W. Griffith and future husband Douglas Fairbanks - formed their own studio, United Artists, in an effort to secure more artistic control over their films. Meanwhile, she developed a more mature persona with director Ernst Lubitsch and eventually segued into talkies, winning an Oscar for Best Actress - and kicking up a bit of controversy - for her performance in "Coquette" (1929). But she soon left acting altogether, making her last film, "Secrets" (1933), before settling into a strictly producer role. Living in Pickfair, her famous Beverly Hills estate, in near seclusion for the rest of her life, Pickford nonetheless basked in her legacy as a pioneering actress whose girl-next-door charm made her Hollywood's first true movie star.

Relationships

Douglas Fairbanks

Husband
married in 1920 divorced in 1936 died on December 12, 1939 of heart attack co-founded United Artist with Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and D W Griffith

Catherine Hennessey

Grandmother
firebrand Catholic, called by Mary "the warrior in the family" Pickford wrote scenario for "Little Annie Rooney" (1925) under pseudonym Catherine Hennessey

Owen Moore Actor

Husband

Owen Moore

Husband
married in 1911 divorced in 1920

Jack Pickford

Brother
born on August 18, 1896 died on January 3, 1933 married to actresses Olive Thomas and Marilyn Miller

Lottie Pickford

Sister
born on June 9, 1895 died from heart attack on December 9, 1936

Charles "Buddy" Rogers Actor

Husband
Co-starred in "My Best Girl" (1927) Married June 26, 1937 until her death May 29, 1979; he was 11 years her junior

Roxanne Rogers

Daughter
adopted as a baby in 1944 married three times became estranged from adoptive parents

Ronald Rogers

Son
adopted at age 6 in 1943 married c. 1955 and had two children became estranged from adoptive parents

John Smith

Father
alcoholic died of cerebral hemorrhage in 1898

Charlotte Smith

Mother
born in 1873 died on March 22, 1928 from breast cancer

EDUCATION

Pickford claimed "she attended school for only three months and learned to read off billboards on the road"

Milestones

1975

Presented with honorary Academy Award

1953

With Chaplin, sold share of United Artists, having previously bought-out (and out-lived) both Fairbanks and Griffith; according to Chaplin, an earlier and better opportunity was lost when Pickford balked at having to wait two years for $7 million

1948

Last producing credit, Douglas Sirk's "Sleep, My Love"

1936

Produced Rouben Mamoulian's "The Gay Desperado"

1933

Made last film, "Secrets", directed by Frank Borzage who replaced a dismissed Neilan

1929

Starred opposite Fairbanks in the disastrous "The Taming of the Shrew", containing the infamous credit, "By William Shakespeare, with additional dialogue by Sam Taylor"

1929

Acted in first talking film, "Coquette", winning her "tainted" Best Actress Oscar; since she was married to the Academy's president (Fairbanks), Pickford had campaigned hard for the statuette, at one point inviting the members of the Central Board of Judg

1928

Made cameo appearance as 'Our Lady of the Shrine' in "The Gaucho", starring Fairbanks

1927

With Fairbanks, became the first stars to press their footprints into concrete at Grauman's Chinese

1926

On a visit to the Soviet Union, director Sergei Komorov persuaded her to kiss a local actor, captured the event on celluloid and built an entire film around it ("A Kiss From Mary Pickford")

1924

Last film with Neilan, "Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall"

1923

Acted in Ernst Lubitsch's first American film, "Rosita"; Pickford had brought Lubitsch to America in an effort to adopt a more mature screen attitude

1921

Starred in Marion's directing debut, "The Love Light"

1921

Directed by brother Jack (and Alfred E Green) in "Through the Back Door"

1919

Co-founded United Artists with Fairbanks, Griffith and Chaplin

1919

Left Zukor, signing with First National for $675,000 a year, plus fifty percent of the gross

1919

Starred in Neilan's "Daddy Long Legs"

1918

Acted in three films directed by William Desmond Taylor and three by Neilan

1917

Screenwriter Frances Marion wrote scenarios for nine of the eleven films in which Pickford starred; Marion would write 17 in all

1917

First film with director Marshall 'Mickey' Neilan, "A Little Princess", playing a 12-year old at age 24

1917

Acted in two Cecil B DeMille films, "The Little American" and "A Romance of the Redwoods"

1916

Earned $10,000 a week, plus a percentage of the profit from her films

1915

Produced and starred in Allan Dwan's "The Foundling", one of a dozen Pickford features released that year

1913

Returned to films with Adolph Zukor's Famous Players (Edwin S Porter, director-general) at $500 per week; first film, an adaptation of her Broadway success for Belasco, "A Good Little Devil" (1914), directed by Porter

1912

Briefly returned to Biograph; left to resume stage career

1911

While at Independent, scripted 11-minute "The Dream", directed by Thomas H Ince; acted in it along with then-husband Owen Moore

1910

Briefly left Griffith for Independent

1909

Entered the movies, engaged by D W Griffith at Biograph; first film, "The Lonely Villa"; Griffith offered her five dollars a day "when he needed her" but she held out for a guarantee of $25 a week and "extra when I work extra"

1907

Wheedled an interview with New York stage impressario David Belasco who christened her Mary Pickford (one of Gladys' family names); NYC debut for Belasco, "The Warrens of Virginia"

Achieved star status in the wake of people inquiring about the 'Little Mary' they'd seen in so many movies

Did five films for the Majestic company

Along with Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, attracted the largest crowds for WWI Liberty Bond drives

Acted in touring stage melodramas from the age of six

Served as vice-president of United Artists

Bonus Trivia

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Pickford charmed producer David Belasco on thier first meeting. When he asked, "So you want to be an actress, little girl?", she cagily replied, "No, sir. I have been an actress. I want to be a good actress."

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"I think the picture a wonderful business and I will always love it, but I don't know whether it will always love me . . . Nobody in the world is important; the world may miss people for a while, but the world goes on just the same . . . My ambition is to become bigger and better than ever and to retire gracefully at the floodtide of power and live comfortably the rest of my life." --Mary Pickford, quoted by Maude C Pilkington in San Jose Mercury Herald, June 17, 1917.

.

"For world popularity, [Pickford] is the greatest American, the greatest world citizen ... the world evangel." --From a 1920 St Louis Globe Dispatch

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"I never liked one of my pictures in its entirety." --Mary Pickford

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"I left the screen because I didn't want what happened to Chaplin to happen to me ... The little girl made me. I wasn't waiting for the little girl to kill me. I'd already been pigeonholed. I know I'm an artist, and that's not being arrogant, because talent comes from God ... My career was planned, there was never anything accidental about it. It was planned, it was painful, it was purposeful. I'm not exactly satisfied, but I'm grateful." --Mary Pickford

.

Mabel Normand, before her career was ruined by scandal, reputedly responded to an interviewer who asked her hobby as follows: "Don't say 'work'. That's like Mary Pickford, that prissy bitch." Although the interviewer dropped the last three words.

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"The first female movie mogul ... perhaps the only female movie mogul." --Scott Eyman writing in his biography "Mary Pickford: America's Sweetheart"

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