Mary Pickford

June 24th Celebrates Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford born on April 8, 1892, was a Canadian-American motion picture actress, co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, known as, “America’s Sweetheart.”

Mary Pickford was born Gladys Louise Smith in 1892. 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.

Stage producer David Belasco gave Mary her stage name in 1908, Pickford switched from plays to acting in motion pictures.

At the time, they were referred to as “flickers,” and the typical film was only eight to twelve minutes long.

The films were shown in “Nickelodeon” theaters, where a person could see an average of five “flickers” for the cost of a nickel.

After making eighty films, Pickford made thirty-five films with Carl Laemmie’s IMP Company, during which time she was named in the credits of her films and gained great fame.

In 1916, Pickford signed a contract with Zukor to become his partner. Pickford’s films were from then on produced by the Pickford Film Corporation and released under Artcraft Pictures.

On June 24th 1916, silent screen legend Mary Pickford was the first female to receive a million dollar contract.

Today’s YouTube video presentation below is shared to you by Women’s History Minute: “Mary Pickford”

In 1919, Pickford co-founded United Artists with her future husband Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith, and Charlie Chaplin to distribute the films they produced. This organization gave actors more artistic control and a share in the enormous profits.

By 1921, Pickford was virtually in control of the finished product of her films. She acted in, helped direct and produced an average of one film per year. In 1927, she acted in her last silent film.

For many years, Pickford continued to stay active on the Board of the United Artists and produced several films.

In 1937, she married her third husband to whom she remained married to for the rest of her life. In 1943, they adopted two children and Pickford spent more time at home.

In 1956, she sold her shares in United Artists and turned to charitable work, establishing the Mary Pickford Foundation.

In lieu of today’s story Mary Pickford may have appeared in many silent films, but one thing for sure she wasn’t silent about her was being a savvy businesswoman who helped shape the film industry as we know it today.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell

J.D Mitchell Design Studio


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