Mary Pickford (1892–1979) was a Canadian motion picture actress, producer, and writer. During the silent film era she became one of the first great celebrities of the cinema and a popular icon known to the public as "America's Sweetheart".
Pickford was born in Toronto and began acting on stage in 1900. She started her film career in the United States in 1909. Initially with the Biograph film company, she moved to the Independent Motion Picture Company (IMP) in 1911, then briefly to the Majestic Film Company later that same year, followed by a return to Biograph in 1912. After appearing in over 150 short films during her years with these studios she began working in features with Zukor's Famous Players Film Company, a studio which eventually became part of Paramount Pictures. By 1916 Pickford's popularity had climbed to the point that she was awarded a contract that made her a partner with Zukor and allowed her to produce her own films. In 1919 Pickford teamed with D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks to create United Artists, an organization designed to distribute their own films. Following the release of Secrets (1933) Pickford retired from acting in motion pictures. However, she remained active as a producer for several years afterwards. She sold her stock in United Artists in 1956.
Pickford won two Academy Awards in her lifetime. The first was in 1929 when she won the award for Best Actress for her performance in Coquette. The second was in 1975 when she was presented with an Honorary Academy Award "in recognition of her unique contributions to the film industry and the development of film as an artistic medium". As of 2009 two of Pickford's films have been added to the National Film Registry: Tess of the Storm Country (1914) and The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917). For her work in motion pictures Pickford received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6280 Hollywood Boulevard.
Unless otherwise referenced, the information presented here is derived from the web site of the American Film Institute, the filmography prepared by Library of Congress historian Christel Schmidt, and the books Mary Pickford Rediscovered by Kevin Brownlow, Mary Pickford: From Here to Hollywood by Scott Eyman, and Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood by Eileen Whitfield.
The best known woman who has ever lived, the woman who was known to more people and loved by more people than any other woman that has been in all history.Adela Rogers St. Johns, 1981
Famous quotes containing the words mary and/or pickford:
“The others acted a role; I was the role. She who was Mary Garden died that it might live. That was my genius ... and my sacrifice. It drained off so much of me that by comparison my private life was empty. I could not give myself completely twice.”
—Mary Garden (18741967)
“I sometimes wonder whether, in the still, sleepless hours of the night, the consciences of ... professional gossips do not stalk them. I myself believe in a final reckoning, when we shall be held accountable for our misdeeds. Do they? If so, they have cause to worry over many scoops that brought them a days dubious laurels and perhaps destroyed someones peace forever.”
—Mary Pickford (18931979)