Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford (1892-1979)... was a talented actress and creative producer, who helped shape the film industry as we know it today.

Her first film director was D.W. Griffith and she went on to work with many of the greats of her era such as: Cecil B. De Mille, Allan Dwan, James Kirkwood, Marshall Neilan, Sidney Franklin, Maurice Tourneur and Ernst Lubitsch.

Her career was supported by cinematographer Charles Rosher and the screenwriter Frances Marion.

Between 1912 and 1919, Mary Pickford  worked for many of the top studios. but... risked her acting career by joining Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplin to form United Artists. The head of the studios described their feelings by quoting... “The inmates have taken over the asylum".

Mary, would risk her career again the following year when stars were told they could not be divorced and still be big box office. Mary divorced Owen Moore and married Doug Fairbanks in 1920.

But instead her popularity and that of her new husband, was described in the fan magazines as a storybook marriage. They lived in their Beverly Hills home, known as Pickfair, until she filed for divorce in 1933.

By then, Mary was working behind the scenes as a producer and a board member of United Artists. She was a founder of the Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers in 1941 and she was the last of the original United Artists founders to sell her interest in the mid-1950s.

Her final film as an actress, Secrets (1933). The same week that President Roosevelt declared a bank holiday, closing down all financial institutions at the height of the Depression.

She had already established herself as one of the most successful actresses of all time, won an Academy Award for her first “talkie,” Coquette, and went on to receive an honorary Oscar for her contribution to motion pictures in 1976.

Mary Pickford, also worked in the film preservation movement and supporter of creating a museum devoted to the art of movie-making.

Mary, was always there to help her friends or friends-of-friends in need. It was when she was selling war bonds in 1918 that she first learned how she could use her influence and popularity to inspire others to give.

She was a hands-on contributor to organizations supporting the creative community. She was one of the original founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a founder and first vice-president of the Motion Picture Relief Fund.

In 1932, before the creation of the Screen Actors Guild, Mary spearheaded the Payroll Pledge Program which financed the Relief Fund by deducting one half of one percent from the salaries of those making over two hundred dollars a week.

A decade later, she was there to break ground for what would be the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital.

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