We maniacs had fun and made good pictures and a lot of money. In the early years United Artists was a private golf club for the four of us'

'Make them laugh, make them cry, and back to laughter. What do people want to go to the theatre for? An emotional exercise . . . 
​I am a servant of the people. I have never forgotten that.'

'If you have made mistakes.... and there is always another chance for you.... you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down but the staying down..' ......... ~Mary Pickford

If you haven't been able to tell .. I love her quotes, and I looovvve her!! 

 

The original queen-dame of Hollywood..and I dare you to find any actress ... (or actor for that matter,) that has been branded with as many nicknames.  'Baby Gladys', 'Girl with the Golden Hair', 'America's sweetheart' - (or the 'World's Sweetheart' in Europe), 'Little Mary', 'Glad Girl', 'Queen of Screen' ... whatever your fancy ... there is no doubt she was the first celebrated actress in Hollywood.  Even garnered admiration from THE INVENTOR of motion picture cameras, hisself!!  As sweet, kind-hearted, and homespun of-a-girl as it gets!!   Mary Pickford, was really indeed - all THAT and a box of cupcakes. As a kid, I remember seeing pictures of her in books and falling head over hills. To this day - I think she is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen,(don't you agree??!!) She seemed to have a face that didn't age ... time had put a freeze on!  The mark she left in Hollywood, is one that resonates through the hills today and is about as legendary as it gets!  Wanna hear something ELSE that's pure awesome to thy core?? ..Thomas Edison loved her!!  Indeed, SHE WAS, the sweetheart of America!!

She was born Gladys Marie Smith, on April 8th of 1892, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada..an Irish-Catholic.  She was the oldest of 3 siblings.  If ever anyone was quote ... 'born into the bizz,' it was her.  Her parents were in the, entertainer bizz  ... her mothers parents, and theirs before, theirs before theirs (you get the 'picture'), and so on.  Her siblings??  They were actors too, naturally!  No doubt - her family was a hoot to be in the company of!  Her father was a boozer, and mother separated from him when Mary was a year old..and when Mary was 3, the booze finally got him...he died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Her mother, ooobviously anxious to get her into the family bizz, formally put her into the public eye at 5 years of age in the role of a boy in a play... (How ironic is it that her first performance, she played a boy... then grew up to be the first woman to run the show in a man-dominated early Hollywood... Not to mention, playing a KID as an adult!!)  Coincydink??  Yeah, probably ... but definitely ironic FO SHO! 

 

Annyhoo - She was an instant hit, and started doing production after production.  By age 9 - she was touring with production all over Canada, doing the musical tour, "The Little Red School House."  Her mother was receiving more calls than she could handle from playwrights wanting young 'Baby Gladys' (Mary),  in their productions

 

While Mary wanted to be in everyone, her mom would limit her schedule.  Wisely so, giving Mary the time every kid needs to 'be a kid.Mary's mom knew how important this was .. as she had gotten started in stage-plays at age 7.   Eventually, the family .. (Mary, 2 siblings, + mother), were doing acting together as a family. 

 

In 1907, Mary landed a supporting role on broadway ... a dream come true, and a crowning achievement thought for 'Baby Gladys', (as she was known to audiences as.)  It was after landing the role on broadway, that big-time Broadway producer, David Belasco, suggested her change her name from Gladys Smith - to Mary Pickford.  She did, it stuck, it's history!  On Broadway today, there is a statue mounted on the building of Mary...here it is!

By the early 1908 ... live stage productions had dwindled down to a temporary lull.  Professional stage entertaining was what Mary knew, this is what she rocked at, this was how she made a living and more, was her entire source of income.  It was at this time she decided to give this fairly new phenomena.. Motion pictures a shoot...

 

She'd heard alot about it - and knew it had been garnering a lot of public attention, but wasn't crazy about it due to the fact that there wasn't a live audience, ... something she desperately loved,  ...but what did she have to lose?  On April 19, 1909 - acting on a tip from a friend she had worked with in playwright - she showed up at the newly formed D.W. Griffith  Biograph Company in New York .. here it is today..  Same facade, same texture, same structure .. I like that!!   New Yorker's have taste, & respect for preservation of history..  Hollywood (& L.A.), could take a lesson from New York..  Anyhoo - she arrived at 'Biograph', to audition for a role in the up and coming film 'Pippa Passes.'  It would mark the beginning of a LOOOOOOOOONG career working alongside D.W. Griffith!!

 

Griffith was blown away at the talent, and made her an even better offer

 

He made her an offer making more money than any actor there.  Turned out, she immediately loved acting in-front of a camera, found it simpler, and luckily for US?..  Set out to do as many films as possible!! 👍   According to her, quote, 'at Biograph, I played scrub women, secretaries, and women  of all nationalities...I decided if I could get in as many pictures as possible, i'd become known, and my work would be in demand.'  It would here - that Mary would meet her future first hubby.. Owen Moore, in 1909.  He was a established silent film actor, and a boozer .. unbeknownst to Mary.  They married in 1911.  The marriage was marred almost from the getgo.  To begin with, Mary had a miscarriage, which led to the boozer .. boozing more.  Owen also found it hard to take living in the shadow of Mary's popularity.  Through a brief bought of domestic violence - separation was inevitable. Divorce was IMMINENT!!  During the separation, Mary hooked what seemed to be the perfect guy ... Douglas Fairbanks

From April - December of 1909, she racked up an IMPRESSIVE 51 films.  Griffith, a native of Kentucky,  loved the 'southern-hospitality' he saw in Mary, thus using her in many of his southern themed films.  In 1910, she traveled with 'The Biograph Company,' to California where she would make 3 more films.  Audiences took notice and naturally loved Mary...  Including a thriving fellow named Carl Laemmle, who had the widely popular, IMP (Independent Moving Pictures).  He offered her a sweetsie of a contract... PURE GOLD... Making her a deal of three times what The Biograph Company was paying.  Making a move Laemmle's IMP .. meant facetime in more Nickelodeon's, and more audiences

 

Her contract was up with Griffith... So, Carl  got 'America's sweetheart'!  KER-CHANNG!  It was 1912, Carl Laemmle had a new leading lady, and a new name for his studio ..Universal Pictures.  It was short lived, however!!

 

Sadly, for both parties, noticing Universal in a major slump - as far as creativity went - Mary headed back to Biograph, Griffith didn't put her under contract.. And she knocked out 3 films before ol' David Belasco, of Broadway called.  Excited, she immediately left Biograph ...Again ... {D.W. Griffith's response, no doubt was - SHIT!! Just SHAAAT!!}, She headed back to New York, to star on Broadway.  Upon taking on the 'live audience' roll again, however, she realized - she missed acting on film.  She was not in a contract with Broadway either, so after excusing herself from Broadway..  She got work immediately with Adolph Zukor, of Paramount Pictures, who DID put her under a swiss miss BLISS of a contract!!  Zukor KNEW talent when he saw it..

By 1915 - she was making a whopping-record-breaking $10,000 a week
, 

 

With a new contract - it stipulated SHE had full control over productions she was involved in.  Her popularity was stronger than ever.  Even with this, she wanted her own company.  She had seen first hand how studios, filtered or squashed all together, creativity.  She wanted to work in a studio where she could assure everyone working there had full control over their own projects and could use their creativity to the fullest.  So she started exploring her options. 

 

By 1918, Mary was touring with Douglas, & (my favorite), Charlie Chaplin, in support of Liberty Bond sales for World War I,  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While a new group of 26 theater owners wanted to expand into filmmaking and distributing.  They called themselves, First National.  In exchange for Mary and Douglas coming to work for them as a senior producers, they offered her a'no limits' contract to guarantee the use of creative minds to the fullest.  It was a pretty sweet dealio. Unfortunately, short lived.  They caved to Paramount in a partnership deal that severely fell through.  With contract breached ... Mary left, with a new idea...forming the studio she had so long dreamt of.

1919 saw her dream come to fruition.   She, along with the other talent that First National had screwed over ... Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, & Douglas Fairbanks, created their own studio, and christened it .. United Artists.  Here ... creativity and imagination of those who worked there - had absolutely NO LIMITS!  Twas a NEW day for filmmakers!!

1920, her divorce to boozer Owen Moore was made final, and she married DouglasTheir European honeymoon was epic, to say the least.  Mary was widely popular in Europe, and psycho fan frenzy ensued.  London fans tried to rip Mary's clothes off and trampled her.  Douglas had to physically pull her off the street by the arms to get her out of the psycho fan craziness.  In Paris, at an outdoor market, a similar scene played out - and Mary had to be locked in a meat cage for protection.   I have never understood fans that go to those kinda extremes at all!!  Nonetheless - they parked it at the hotel for the rest of their honeymoon.  Charlie was in waiting, to welcome them home, upon their return!! 

 

1921 saw Mary, Douglas, D.W. Griffith, and Charlie Chaplin start the Motion Picture Trust Fund, to help actors who had fallen on hard times.

She was living with hubby Douglas, in this posh opulence home - quaintly named: Pickfair, (outta the first lines of their last names.)  Dinners here at the mansion, (aerial view) - were EXTRAORDINARY legendary!!  Often including up to 25-80 guests a night.  The marriage seemed perfect by all angles, and the hose, Pickfair, monumental.  So monumental that foreign dignitaries and leaders, when they came to the White House to visit the President, they would often ask to visit Pickfair.  Guests that often frequented the mansion included Charlie Chaplin (who spoke in his autobio of the OPULENCE & SHEER EXTRAVAGANCE of the parties held at PickFair), Amelia Earhart, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Albert Einstein. 

 

They were the poster couple of America, literally.  Mary and Douglas.. TOGETHER!!  When not working, they were making appearances in parades, making speeches, etc.. MORE & MORE, SEPARATELY..  This left little time for anything else. 

In May of 1927, Sid Grauman, who was a MASTER showman according to Chaplin, opened a Chinese Theater in Hollywood & asked Doug and Mary to put their hands and feet in wet cement, as a promotion for the theater.. They agreed & became the FIRST celebrities, to put their prints into the cement at the theater.. Thus, Grauman’s Chinese Theater's “Forecourt of the Stars was born.  Mary's prints remain there today - along with other celebrities thru the years.. Attracting over 5 million guests per year!!

 

Both Mary & Doug, were strong in their core beliefs that films, "ought not have sound."  Because of their UNSHAKABLE belief in this - their film careers both began to fizzle as more & more films were made, WITH sound..  Doug took to traveling overseas..A LOT!!  Something Mary didn't really enjoy..  Thus - she began to stay home at Pickfair as he traveled.. 

America was SHOCKED in the early 30's when news of an affair became public involving Doug.. The marriage went into separation mode, & became a public subject of a downward spiral, then finalized in divorce on January 10, 1936.  Poor Mary.. It had to be HELL on her!!

After the divorce, according to friends, you could say both were miserable...  Both tried  to keep it hidden.  Mary got Pickfair in the divorce, Douglas managed to keep a little bit of his sanity.  Mary re-married to a musician in 1937 - Douglas died in 1939.  Mary, upon hearing the news, reportedly broke down weeping in front of her musician hubby saying ...'my darling is gone.'  Mary denied this stating ...'for fear of hurting her hubby, she restrained her tears and weeped alone, later .. when I was alone.' 

 

What there is no denying is that Mary was indeed hurt.  According to Douglas, Jr - (Sr.'s son from a previous marriage), '...neither Mary or Douglas Sr., ever got over not being able to reconcile their marriage.'

Mary dropped out of the public eye and retired to Pickfair for the remainder of her life.  She made a rare public appearance in 1975 .. accepting an honorary Acadamy Award for her contribution to the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She died on May 29, 1979 .. of a cerebral hemorrhage... Same cause of death as her father.  The world mourned .. and Hollywood is still mourning.
RIP Mary!!  America's SWEETHEART!!  There have never, and WILL NEVER be, another like you!  Virtually visit Mary's grave & leave your virtual flowers and a comment for America's Sweetheart .. here!

Chaplin, Pickford and Fairbanks signing United Artists contract

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Mary - with Doug & Charlie Chaplin, on the Liberty Bonds Tour for WWI funding.. In 1918.

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