top of page
“Say anything you like, but don't say that I 'like' to work. That sounds like Mary Pickford, that prissy bitch.
Just say I like to pinch babies and twist their legs. And get drunk.”
I'll say this up front .. I love this woman, ANND I love Mary Pickford ... Despite the quote above .. the two were VERY good friends. Great friends who worked GREAT together! Their biggest competition was each other. Both were stunning!! They are the originals .. you can't love one without loving the other IMO! The first FEmale producer, director, writer, actress, and original queen of Hollywood. Mabel, in her own true words ... "had noone to model or imitate, so (I) just gave comedy a go, with only my own sense to go on." I love this pic! It's Mabel holding lil Charlie Chaplin Jr.! Within the industry, and through followings everywhere (thanks to internet), she is well thought of today. She obviously had an amaaazing talent ... had an amaaazing passion for her work ... and had an amaaazing killer (literally) chaufer. Unfortunately, her amazing talent would be overshadowed by scandals and innuendos. She was very sadly, struck down in her prime. If truth be told, she could have beaten out Mary Pickford on the title of 'America's Sweetheart,' if she had wanted that title. She didn't fit the title. She was in many ways ... not your basic girl next door. A 'tomboy if you will. She was portrayed beautifully by Marisa Tomei in the 1992 film, Chaplin. She worked with, and was friends with, Edison, D.W., Mary Pickford, and Charlie Chaplin ... which really is reason enough to love the hell outta the girl! We shall start now ...
She was born November 9, 1892 (the year is arguable by historians .. there was no birth certificate, I choose 1892 due to looking at census reports. It shocks me the number of folk who post false-ness or post opinions on a website. Give some dignity to the folk you write about! Buy a copy of census..it's only $20.00. The cost small & well-worth reporting fact!!), in this house on Staten Island New York. She also spent her teen years here too ... Born into a family of extreme poverty .. she didn't demand attention, but generally got it because of her unbelievably good looks!! She was raised on Staten Island to be a tough girl! In the area she grew up - you had to be. At age 15, she landed a job posing for artist Charles Gibson .. posing for renderings, postcards...the etc.. She would work at the 'model' gig for a year before being spotted by D.W. Griffith on one of them postcards. He offered her work - she accepted. D.W. didn't really know what to do with her, she had the look. He put her in the role of 'love story and beauty parts.' She in turn would usually do something (all natural) to halt production because it was so comical. While at Biograph, she met Mack Sennett and began into a relationship with him, and leaving with him when he started Keystone Studios in 1912, in California. (The studio shot, click here!) Seeing the potential of her comedy, Sennett placed her in roles of comedic proportions. She delivered .. every-time!! Keystone Studios was a pioneer in comedy. So if you like comedy - thank Mack and Mabel! They were the TRUE pioneers of it!! In 1914, she gained paydirt momentum by co-starring with Charlie Chaplin & Marie Dressler in "Tillie's Punctured Romance." She had a natural chemistry in film with Charlie Chaplin, and vice-a-versa! By 1916, she was soaring and a household name. Albeit - in a collapsing relationship with Mack Sennett, the two would spend three years in an up and down tumultuous relationship. The relationship ended in 1918 .. with Mabel leaving Keystone, and signing with Samuel Goldwyn at his newly formed, Goldwyn Pictures, (now own by Warner and called, The Lot.), earning a whopping $3,500 per week. A VERY sweet salary for the day ... (and today 😂!) With the new sweet salary - Mabel found herself experimenting with 'toot.' You never never experiment with that stuff - EVER..and not get hooked like a fish! Or so I have been told. Her addiction to opium .. now along with toot - was just starting to get hand. Speaking of hand - wanna see her autograph??
Her first film for Goldwyn, paired her with Lew Cody for the 1918 film, 'Mikey.' There was chemistry there from the get-go!! The two became friends .. and ding-ding, a relationship. Mabel continued to make brilliant pictures for Goldwyn until it sold to Marcus Loew in 1923. Things started getting 'rocky,' however, for Mabel in 1922. Since her split with Mack Sennett, she had gotten into book reading and gotten chummy with a film director named William Desmond Taylor, who also had a love for books.
**NOTE - the following paragraph links contain pics of the crime scene .. if that makes you feel ooie-gooey - don't click! There is nothing gross - but just saying! The following is from the police report..with my sarcasm thrown in ..... of course!
The evening of February 1, 1922 .. Mabel went to Williams house to mingle and chat. Over Orange Blossom Gin cocktails, Mabel and Williams discussed the film bizz, the latest buzz, and philosophy of Sigmund Freud & Friedrich Nietzsche. Mabel played a few licks on the piano, and called it a night. It was a chilly night for Los Angeles, and Williams walked Mabel to her car, (as you do), while leaving the inner door open, (as you don't do in LA). As Mabel left, the two were seen blowing kisses. Moments after Mabel left - neighbors report hearing 'what they thought was a car backfiring.' Upon inspection, one neighbor reported seeing a 'uggsly like Pugsly' looking fellow in a tench coat .. with a rather feminine swagger. Later in court, a sheriff deputy ask the neighbor if she could be certain it was a man that she saw, she answered she could not. Another neighbor stated that she just saw a 'dark figure' after hearing the car backfire. In police theory, (and my own theory..), a hitman, hired by drug dealers, whacked Williams. It was well known he was trying to help Mabel get off toot and opiates. Mabel had been spending 2 grand a month on drugs. For Mr. Williams humble good efforts... the drug dealers were 'missing their money,' & BANG -- they killed Williams! The houseman came as normal the next morning - nothing could prepare him for what he was about to find. Peeping in the window of the bungalow, the houseman sees William's in a pool of blood - (got him in the back, at close range), no doubt is probably what he was thinking before his brain had time to process.... MURDER! Housekeeper runs out to the garden of the bungalow and lets out a bloodcurdling scream that shakes Hollywood's shit loose!! Houseman calls, not 911, but the studio! Only in L.A.! Paramount (a.k.a. Famous Player's-Lasky) in this case, came in and cleaned the murder scene. Studios back in the day, did this to avoid the bad publicity. (On an related side-note.. Just to throw my message home.. A year previous - a top star at MGM was drunk and hit a tree. Before police could get there... Louie Mayer, grabbed a stagehand, offered him job security for life, and gave him the salary of a B-lister star... JUST to take the wrap. They made him look banged up on the way and placed him in the car. Studios DID NOT like negatory publicity back then. Nowadays they seem to eat it up!!) Anyhoo- the murder still made the press - and it would be the beginning of Mabel's tarnishing. Although .. never a suspect - the public, (as the public does), had convicted her. (As they do!) This has always been the why public opinion sucks in my book.👎 People are naturally followers .. they follow .. and allow other people to form their opinions for them! People who form their own opinions, impresss me (they just do!) Blllaaaaaaahh!! Let the 'downward-unfair-spiraling' o-meter' of Mabel's carrer begin!!
In 1924, led to marriage - to long time friend and lover - actor Lew Cody!! At first new hubby lived a few houses down..but eventually moved in and they lived here, in this posh Bev Hills home! (which reminds me..I love that song!! Video is cool ..Heff even makes a cameo!) It seemed, from all angles, she was doing well. Have you ever heard the term ...'it's a beautiful day...watch someone come fuck it up?' Well..in Mabel's case - it was her chauffeur, Joe Kelly, fucking the day up. With Mabel's pistol - he shot and killed millionaire oil tycoon Courtland Dines. The press had a field day .. and the public opinion moved to conviction. PSSH! Mabel continued to make films for Hal Roach. While Hollywood publicly supported Mabel .. public didn't. Protest rallies were stationed outside theaters showing her films! She contracted tuberculosis in the late 20's, and retired from film, as it made her too physically weak. (THAT'S WHAT PUBLIC OPINE WILL DO to yah!) In January of 1930, husband could no longer to care for her medically, she was moved to a North Hollywood nursing home. She rapidly declined and on Febuary 22, 1930, she passed away in her sleep of the tuberculosis. RIP Mabel! You were a damn fine person ... and an essential legend to the laying of Hollywood's filming foundations!! At her funeral ... Lew, Mabel’s husband, with her mother, Mrs. Mary Normand. The pallbearers are, left to right facing camera: Louis B. Mayer, Judge James, Eugene Pallette, Charlie Chaplin and Sid Grumman; backs turned: Douglas Fairbanks, Colonel Art Goebel, D.W. Griffith, Mack Sennett and Samuel Goldwyn.
You can leave your virtual non-wilting flowers and comments .. here!
Mabel & Charlie were GREAT friends!! Love this gif 😂!!
bottom of page