Mary Pickford

(1893—1979) Canadian-born American actress

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Canadian-born US film star of the silent screen.

Pickford was born in Toronto and at the age of five was touring on stage as ‘Baby Gladys’. At fourteen she was starring on Broadway in The Warrens of Virginia, with the new name of Mary Pickford, and two years later began her film career with D. W. Griffith. Moving from company to company, she made many films, including The Little American (1917), directed by Cecil B. de Mille, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917), and Daddy-Long-Legs (1919). She married Douglas Fairbanks in 1919 (having divorced Owen Moore) and together with Charlie Chaplin and Griffith established United Artists. This resulted in such Pickford successes as Pollyanna (1920) and Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921).

The image of curly-headed innocence and unsophisticated charm that made her famous in silent films did not transfer easily to sound. Although her first talkie, Coquette (1929), won her an Academy Award, this was followed by the less successful trio, The Taming of the Shrew (1929), Kiki (1931), and her last film, Secrets (1933). After retiring from films she did some broadcasting and wrote several books, including her autobiography, Sunshine and Shadow (1955). Her marriage to Fairbanks ended in divorce; in 1937 she married Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers (1904– ).

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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