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Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford (April 8, 1892 - May 29, 1979) was a motion picture star, known as "America's Sweetheart" and "the girl with the curl." She became one of the Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood.


Mary Pickford

Pickford was born Gladys Louise Smith in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her father, John Charles Smith, was a purser on a steamship who died in an on-board accident. Her mother, née Charlotte Hennessy, began taking in boarders, and through one of these lodgers Gladys, aged five, was cast in a local play, The Silver King, as Baby Gladys Smith. She subsequently played in many melodramas and became a popular child actress in Canada. Her mother took her to New York, looking for stardom, and she landed a leading role in a 1907 Broadway play, The Warrens of Virginia, produced by David Belasco[?] (at whose insistance she assumed the stage name Mary Pickford), which was written by William C. DeMille, brother of Cecil B. DeMille, who was also in the cast. D. W. Griffith screen tested and hired her for a part in a one-reel thriller, The Lonely Villa in 1909. Pickford would go on to become Hollywood's biggest female star, the first female actor to receive more than a million dollars a year (the first male actor who made a million dollar deal was Charlie Chaplin), and one of the few stars who were successful in both the silent film era and the sound film era. She won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1929.

She was married to Owen Moore[?] on January 7, 1911. They were divorced in March 1920. She married Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. on March 28, 1920. They divorced in January 1936. She married Charles "Buddy" Rogers[?] in 1937.


Chronology

  • Prior to 1909: studied theatre actress in New York City
  • 1909: discovered by David Wark Griffith at Biograph, worked for $5 a week
  • 1910: I.M.P., $175 a week
  • 1911: Majestic Film Corp.
  • 1912: back to Biograph
  • 1913: Appears (with Lillian Gish) in Belasco's Broadway production A Good Little Devil
  • 1913: Famous Players, $20,000 a year
  • 1915: worked for various companies, $1000 to $2000 a week
  • 1916: founded The Mary Pickford Corporation as a part of Paramount Pictures, she gets about $10,000 a week. She became the first actress who was the producer of her own films.
  • 1918: First National. She gets $675,000 for three films plus 50% of all profits, plus a signing bonus of $50,000 and complete control over her films, ranging from script to the final cut.
  • 1919: A very astute business person, she founded United Artists together with Charlie Chaplin, David Wark Griffith and her husband Douglas Fairbanks

Mary Pickford died on May 29, 1979 holding dual U.S./Canadian citizenship and is buried in the Garden of Memory of the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Glendale, California, USA.

She has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6280 Hollywood Blvd.

See also: Other Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood



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