Mary Pickford – The Muse of The Movies

Last week some time I streamed this documentary movie featuring Mary Pickford.  If you don’t know, Mary Pickford was an actress during the silent film period and one of America’s first movie stars.  I think it is a very well done documentary.  I found it very informative and enjoyable.  Mary Pickford’s story is just as much a history cinema in America.

Mary Pickford was such a little thing.  At barely 5’1″ she was so short that into her thirties she was still convincingly playing the part of a child in movies.
Besides Mary Pickford’s short stature, her long thick and very curly hair was her trademark.
Mary’s very girlish look lead her to become known as “America’s Sweetheart” and she was a photographers dream for portraiture photos.

Mary Pickford was also known as “the girl with the curls” and “little Mary”.

Many people may not know this, but the moving picture industry in America began in New York; not Hollywood, California.  In April of 1909, Director D. W. Griffith screen tested Mary Pickford at the Biograph Company in New York City.  D. W. Griffith is best known for directing the silent film Birth of a Nation.  In 1910 the Biograph Company headed for Los Angeles because winter weather on the east coast made year round film-making impossible.  In California the longer daylight hours were also better for shooting films.

The way that Mary Pickford negotiated her silent film contracts set the stage for the enormous salaries that actors receive today.  Mary was making as much as $10,000.00 per week.  The average salary in those days was $10.00 per week.  Mary also demand percentages of the profits and creative control.  She is the first actress to earn a million dollars.

 Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and D. W. Griffith.

With Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford funded and started United Artists film studios.   Mary Pickford was also one of 36 people who founded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Mary Pickford’s second husband was Douglas Fairbanks.  Both were married to other people when they met and fell in love.

 

 Charles “Buddy” Rogers

Actor Charles “Buddy” Rogers fell hopelessly in love with Mary Pickford while she was married to Douglas Fairbanks.  Many actresses were smitten with the very handsome Buddy Rogers, but he only had eyes for Mary.

Buddy Rogers and Mary Pickford acting together.

Mary and Douglas Fairbanks began to have marital problems and after 16 years of marriage they divorced in 1936.  The following year in 1937, Buddy Rogers married Mary Pickford, the woman of his dreams.

Buddy Rogers and Mary Pickford on their wedding day in 1937.  The coupled remained happily married until Mary passed away in 1979.

Buddy Rogers and his beloved wife Mary Pickford

In the wake of her mother’s death Mary decided to cut her hair.   The public did not receive this well, and her acting career never recovered from this one single action..

America did not want to let go of “Little Mary”, but she could no longer play children’s roles or that of a teenager.

In 1933 Mary retired from acting, but continued to produce movies and pursue philanthropic endeavors.
In 1976 Mary Pickford received an honorary award from the Academy.
Mary Pickford – America’s Sweetheart
This documentary goes into a lot more detail and I highly recommend it.

Leave a Reply