Mary Pickford Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (3)  | Trivia (62)  | Personal Quotes (44)  | Salary (12)

Overview (5)

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died in Santa Monica, California, USA  (complications from cerebral hemorrhage)
Birth NameGladys Marie Smith
Nicknames Baby Gladys
"The Girl with the Golden Hair"
"The Glad Girl"
America's Sweetheart
Little Mary
The Girl with the Curls
The Biograph Girl
Height 5' 0½" (1.54 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Mary Pickford was born Gladys Marie Smith in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to Elsie Charlotte (Hennessy) and John Charles Smith. She was of English and Irish descent. Pickford began in the theater at age seven. Then known as "Baby Gladys Smith", she toured with her family in a number of theater companies. In 1907, she adopted a family name Pickford and joined the David Belasco troupe, appearing in the long-running The Warrens of Virginia". She began in films in 1909 with the 'American Mutoscope & Biograph [us]', working with director D.W. Griffith.

For a short time in 1911, to earn more money, she joined the IMP Film Co. under Carl Laemmle. She returned to Biograph in 1912, then, in 1913 joined the Famous Players Film Company under Adolph Zukor. She then joined First National Exhibitor's Circuit in 1918. In 1919, she co-founded United Artists with D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin and then-future husband, Douglas Fairbanks.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ted Hull <theodore.hull@arch2.nara.gov>

Family (3)

Spouse Charles 'Buddy' Rogers (26 June 1937 - 29 May 1979)  (her death)  (2 children)
Douglas Fairbanks (28 March 1920 - 10 January 1936)  (divorced)
Owen Moore (7 January 1911 - 2 March 1920)  (divorced)
Parents John Charles Smith
Charlotte Hennessey
Relatives Alice Moore (niece or nephew)
Jack Pickford (sibling)
Gwynne Rupp (niece or nephew)

Trivia (62)

She had intended to have all of her films destroyed after her death, fearing that no one would care about them. She was convinced not to do this.
One of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
Arguably the silent era's most renowned female star. Film historian Ethan Katz goes so far as to call her "the most popular star in screen history".
Sister of actor/director Jack Pickford and stage/screen actress Lottie Pickford.
In same stage company as Lillian Gish and Dorothy Gish in the early 1900s.
Stepmother of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and aunt of Alice Moore.
Her mansion Pickfair was sold ten months after her death for $5,362,000; later sold to Pia Zadora in January 1988 for just under $7 million.
Stage producer David Belasco gave Mary her stage name in 1908. Her real name, Gladys Marie Smith, was not right for an actress on his stage. "Gladys" did not suit the diminutive actress, "Smith" was too common, "Marie" was too foreign. "Marie" became "Mary". "Pickford" was her mother's maiden name. Years later, a huge fan who traced her family tree found that the name "Mary Pickford" occurred several times in her mother's family going back to the 12th century.
Formed United Artists company with Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith and Charles Chaplin. The first artist to have her name in marquee lights. The first international star.
She died of complications from cerebral hemorrhage at Santa Monica Hospital, CA. Her third husband, Buddy, was at her bedside. Following her death, she was interred in the Garden of Memory at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, CA.
Had English and Irish ancestry.
Sister-in-law of Robert Fairbanks.
Sister-in-law of Joe Moore, Tom Moore and Matt Moore.
Second cousin of John Mantley.
Daughter of actress Charlotte Smith.
Became a United States citizen on her marriage to Douglas Fairbanks, but later reclaimed her Canadian citizenship and died an American and Canadian citizen.
She was the first movie actress to receive a percentage of a film's earnings
Son Ronnie has three children, daughter Jamie (born 1954), son Tommy (born 1955), and son Douglas Pickford (born 1966). Daughter Roxanne gave birth to a daughter, Katina, in the early 1960s.
She left her children $50,000 and her grandchildren trust funds.
Was the subject of the first cinematic close up shot, in Friends (1912).
Turned down the role of Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd. (1950), which went to Gloria Swanson.
First star (along with husband Douglas Fairbanks) to officially place hand and footprints in the cement at Grauman's Chinese Theatre (April 30, 1927). Hollywood legend has it that the very first star to do so, unofficially, thus inspiring the ensuing tradition, was Norma Talmadge when she accidentally walked onto the wet cement prior to the official opening of the Theatre
Was named #24 on The American Film Institute 50 Greatest Screen Legends
Is portrayed by Maria Pitillo in Chaplin (1992)
The house in which she lived in Hollywood for most of her life was nicknamed "Pickfair".
Ernst Lubitsch came to America at Mary's invitation to direct Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall (1924), but when he arrived he had changed his mind and would not do it (it was eventually directed by Marshall Neilan). Instead, he and Mary made Rosita (1923) together.
The romance drama Coquette (1929) was her first talkie.
Her likeness is included as part of the "Canadians in Hollywood" stamp series released by CanadaPost in 2006. The others in the series were Fay Wray, Lorne Greene and John Candy.
Her first starring appearance in a film was in Her First Biscuits (1909) for Biograph Company.
She was first hired for the movies by director D.W. Griffith.
Was to have made her big-screen comeback as Vinnie in Life with Father (1947), but the role eventually went to Irene Dunne because of Dunne's box-office appeal.
Her last silent movie was the romance comedy My Best Girl (1927).
Was Joan Crawford's mother-in-law, while Crawford was married to Pickford's son, Douglas Fairbanks Jr..
In October 1911, a court voided her contract with IMP because she was a minor when she signed it. As a result, she left IMP for the Majestic Company for $275/week.
In December 1910, she left the Biograph Company to work for Carl Laemmle at Independent Moving Picture Company for $175 a week.
She and husband Douglas Fairbanks were friends with Edsel Ford (son of Henry Ford) and his wife. In the Edsel and Eleanor Ford home at 1100 Lake Shore Road, Grosse Point Shores, Michigan there hangs in the study an autographed photo of her signed "Mary Pick-A-Ford", c. 1932.
When she presented producer Cecil B. DeMille with the Best Picture Oscar for The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) (March 19, 1953), not only was it the first time the Academy Awards ceremonies had ever been televised, it was also her very first television appearance.
She became estranged from daughter Roxanne for a time when she, at age 18, ran off to marry a man her parents did not approve of.
She paid for her grandchildren to go to school, provided that they showed proof that they were registered.
She started her film career at Biograph Company (American Mutoscope & Biograph) in 1909, when Biograph's director D.W. Griffith hired her. Her first film was Biograph's Pippa Passes; or, the Song of Conscience (1909), though she only was a face in the crowd. However, this launched her long and illustrious film career.
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6280 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
Founder/President of Mary Pickford Company, a production company formed in 1919, and the Mary Pickford Film Corporation, formed in 1916. The former produced films only for Pickford, the latter company produced non-Pickford films.
Had two adopted children with her third husband Charles 'Buddy' Rogers - a son named Ronald Charles Rogers (born 1937) and a daughter named Roxanne Rogers (born 1944 - died 2007 from osteoporosis).
The character Edna Strickland changes her name to Mary Pickford in Back to the Future: The Game (2010).
Was a founding member of The Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers (SIMPP).
Singer Katie Melua wrote a song in homage to Pickford, with her name as the title, which was featured on her 2007 album "Pictures".
Fil Daily-West Coast Bureau-Tuesday, May 7, 1935: Mary Pickford has signed with Henry Duffy, theatrical manager, to appear in "Coquette". She will tour in the play along the coast.
Was the 2nd actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Actress Oscar for Coquette (1929) at The 2nd Academy Awards on April 3, 1930.
She was posthumously awarded a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars on November 16, 1993.
She was posthumously awarded a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto, Ontario in 1999.
Was the 1st of 3 consecutive Canadian actresses to win the Best Actress Oscar. The others were Norma Shearer and Marie Dressler.
When her mother Charlotte Smith died in 1928, she bequeathed $200,000 each in trust to her two younger children Jack Pickford and Lottie Pickford and to Lottie's daughter Gwynne. But she left the large bulk of her estate to her eldest daughter Mary Pickford of $1 million, because she recognized that Mary had sacrificed her childhood to become the family's breadwinner at age 5. Charlotte wrote in her will: "Whatever property I possess at the time of my death has come to me through my association with my beloved daughter in her business and through her most unusual generosity to me".
In the 1920s, when prominent Hollywood columnist Herbert Howe asked his banker for advice about Los Angeles real estate, the banker responded, "Go ask Mary Pickford. She knows more about local real estate than anybody I know".
Colonel Ralph J. Phaneuf and the soldiers the 143rd Field Artillery of Camp Kearny, California, officially made Mary their Honorary Colonel during World War I.
Mary Pickford reveals in her autobiography, Sunshine and Shadow, that as a young girl living in Toronto she would buy a single rose and eat the petals, believing the beauty, color and perfume would somehow get inside her.
One of her happiest memories as a child living in Toronto, Mary would rent a bicycle for ten cents and loved to ride up and coast down University Avenue. On her eighth birthday, her mother surprised her with a bicycle of her own.
Made her Broadway debut in "The Warrens of Virginia" on December 3, 1907. She was billed sixth in the role of Betty Warren. It was during pre-production of the play that she met Cecil B. DeMille, who was billed fourth as Arthur Warren, and his brother William C. de Mille, who wrote the play.
Has never appeared in a film nominated for the the Best Picture Oscar.
Introduced Lillian Gish and Dorothy Gish to D.W. Griffith in 1912. The Gishes had lost contact with the Smith family, when, one day, Lillian and Dorothy went into a movie house to watch the latest flicker. When the girl in the Biograph film Lena and the Geese (1912) appeared on screen, Dorothy grabbed Lillian's hand and exclaimed, "That's Gladys Smith!". They did not know Gladys had changed her name and was now in films. They decided the next time they were in New York, they would go to the Biograph Studio to see their friend. When they did get to the studio, they asked to see Gladys Smith and were told no one by that name worked there. Dorothy spoke up, "But we saw her in 'Lena and the Geese'". The receptionist said, "Oh, you mean Little Mary". Mary was re-united with her friends, who then introduced the sisters to Griffith.
At the height of her fame in the mid-1910s, Adolph Zukor was looking for potential vehicles for her and Douglas Fairbanks, and became interested in filming Henry De Vere Stacpoole's "The Blue Lagoon". However, Zukor was outbid by I.W. Schlesinger for the movie rights to the book.
Was a member of the management committee for the Hollywood Studio Club.
Although Mary Pickford's first television appearance occurred in 1953, she nearly appeared on experimental television in 1930 when she, her husband Douglas Fairbanks, and United Artists president Joseph M. Schenck visited the San Francisco laboratory of television innovator Philo T. Farnsworth. Technical difficulties prevented Farnsworth from being the first to successfully direct Pickford on television. Pickford complained that Farnsworth's lights were hotter than any she had experienced on movie sets. Reducing the amount of light needed to make a good television image was a few years in the future.

Personal Quotes (44)

We were pioneers in a brand-new medium. Everything's fun when you're young.
I'm sick of Cinderella parts, of wearing rags and tatters. I want to wear smart clothes and play the lover.
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.
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.
I never liked one of my pictures in its entirety.
[at her retirement] I'm not exactly satisfied, but I'm grateful.
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.
Adding sound to movies would be like putting lipstick on the Venus de Milo.
[on Douglas Fairbanks] A little boy who never grew up.
[on Charles Chaplin] That obstinate, suspicious, egocentric, maddening and lovable genius of a problem child.
[on Douglas Fairbanks] In his private life Douglas always faced a situation in the only way he knew, by running away from it.
[on Ernst Lubitsch] I parted company with him as soon as I could. I thought him a very uninspired director. He was a director of doors.
[on success] This thing that we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down.
I will not allow one picture to be shown: Rosita (1923). Oh, I detested that picture! I disliked the director, Ernst Lubitsch, as much as he disliked me. We didn't show it, of course, but it was a very unhappy and very costly experience.
[In her old age] I saw Hollywood born and I've seen it die...
I left the screen because I didn't want what happened to Chaplin [Charles 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.
[upon initially hearing her recorded voice on film in Coquette (1929)] That's not me. That's a pip squeak voice. It's impossible. I sound like I'm 12 or 13.
[on Charles Chaplin] I think he descended, I think he should never have played Hitler for instance. He could've gone on until he was 90 years old playing the little tramp. He personified everything that is miserable, all over the world, he was a poor little human being, but had the philosophy to overcome all of the other things that attacked him. And then when he became Hitler and a murderer and Monsieur Verdoux, Limelight I was sad about, I didn't want to see Charlie as an old man.
[appearing under the title "Spooning" in 'Daily Talks with Mary Pickford' May 8, 1916] I am not going to put on a pair of old grandmother spectacles, draw my eyebrows together and 'shush!' the happy young engaged couples who seek the cozy corners of the moonlight garden walks to exchange their lovers litany - no indeed, because that is the sweetest and most beautiful time of a young girl's life. But this I do see is dreadful: unengaged couples spooning promiscuously. Is there anything more jarring upon one than seeing a foolish young girl, not out of her teens, allowing a boy to make love to her? And, as is nearly always the case, the silly girl who tolerates promiscuous familiarities has much to regret when the one man comes along for whom she has been waiting for many years.
The time is coming when the screen will be controlled by a big-business combine. When that time comes, I shall retire. Neither Douglas [Douglas Fairbanks] nor I will ever again take dictation from businessmen who sit in their mahogany offices back East, with their big cigars, seeking to control a business which they do not understand. The public demands artists, but these men do not understand the temperament of artists.
[on A Good Little Devil (1914)] One of the worst [features] I ever made...it was deadly.
I was forced to live far beyond my years when just a child; now, I have reversed the order and I intend to remain young indefinitely.
It would have been more logical if silent pictures had grown out of the talkies instead of the other way around.
[on her 20-month success at Biograph Pictures] I played scrubwomen and secretaries and women of all nationalities. I decided that if I could get into as many pictures as possible, I'd become known, and there would be a demand for my work.
One of the great penalties those of us who live our lives in full view of the public must pay is the loss of that most cherished birthright of man's: privacy.
Make them laugh, make them cry, and hack to laughter. What do people go to the theatre for? An emotional exercise. I am a servant of the people. I have never forgotten that.
After Theda Bara appeared in A Fool There Was (1915), a vampire wave surged over the country. Women appeared in vampire gowns, pendant earrings, and even young girls were attempting to change from frank, open-eyed ingenues to the almond-eyed, carmine-lipped woman of subtlety and mystery.
[1924] The Birth of a Nation (1915) was the first picture that really made people take the motion picture industry seriously. Even today it stands as the finest example of dramatic accumulation on the screen.
[1924] Robin Hood (1922) combines a fine story with a big spectacle and builds consistently to a climax without dropping interest for a moment. It has beautiful costumes, good photography, marvelous settings, is convincingly acted, and adds to the dignity of the screen.
[1924] Tol'able David (1921) retains the same quality the [Joseph Hergesheimer] pen conveyed and is notable for the sustained drama of the plot. When I first saw this picture I felt I was not looking at a photoplay but was really witnessing the tragedy of a family I had known all my life.
[1924] A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate (1923) allows us to think for ourselves and does not constantly underestimate our intelligence. It is a gripping human story throughout and the director [Charles Chaplin] allows the situations to play themselves. The actors simply react the emotions of the audience.
[1924] Seventeen (1916) is perhaps the best example of [Booth Tarkington's] angle on life - the typical wholesome American humor, fresh and charming.
[1924] Deception (1920) is an example of superb direction and splendid acting, especially that of Emil Jannings. It was the first time on the screen that a King had been made human. It has subtle, satirical humor.
[1924] Over the Hill to the Poorhouse (1920). This story is so simple and human that even the people of far away China could sympathize with the situations. It deals with a world-wide problem - what to do with the old. The human touches are delightful.
[1924] Smilin' Through (1922) is notable because of Norma Talmadge's beauty and appealing performance, the wonderful sets and photography and the entertaining story. It deals with a subject which interests most women - that of spiritualism - which is so delicately and beautifully handled that it could offend no one.
[1924] The Kid (1921) is one of the finest examples of screen language, depending upon its action rather than upon subtitles. It is notable on account of the great generosity of [Charles Chaplin] in sharing honors with [Jackie Coogan] and because of its direct simplicity, depending solely upon its treatment.
[1924] Blood and Sand (1922) is notable on account of [Rudolph Valentino's] performance. In my judgment it is the best thing that he has done and one of [Fred Niblo's] finest pictures. It is one of the few pictures I have been able to sit through twice and enjoy the second time more than the first.
[1924] I am not vain. I do not care about giving a smashing personal performance. My one ambition is to create fine entertainment.
[1924] The important thing in pictures is not the story but the treatment. Setting, acting, story may all be splendid but it's the treatment that lifts a picture out of mediocrity. The ideal working combination is a fine director with a fine scenario writer.
[1924] If I ever retire from the screen I will become a producer - unless I am forced into retirement by the combine.
[1924, to an interviewer] I have only three hundred billboards for the New York showings of Rosita (1923). Do you think that is enough? I wanted five hundred. I think billboards are very important in the advertising campaign.
[1924] I am no longer in pictures for money. I am in them because I love them.
[1924] I do not cry easily when seeing a picture, but after seeing [Charles Chaplin's] A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate (1923) I was all choked up - I wanted to go out in the garden and have it out by myself. Our cook felt the same way.
[1924, on Charles Chaplin] How he knows women - oh, how he knows women!

Salary (12)

A Gold Necklace (1910) $175 /week
The Courting of Mary (1911) $275 /week
Caprice (1913) $500 /week
Rags (1915) $4,000 /week
Less Than the Dust (1916) $10,000 /week + 50% of profits
The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917) $10,000 /week
A Romance of the Redwoods (1917) $96,667
The Little American (1917) $68,666 .66
Stella Maris (1918) $250,000
Daddy-Long-Legs (1919) $350,000
The Hoodlum (1919) $350,000
Heart o' the Hills (1919) $350,000

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