Filled Under: Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford (April 8, 1892 – May 29, 1979) was a Canadian-American motion picture actress, known as “America’s Sweetheart”, and was one of silent film’s most important performers and producers. As a co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Pickford was one of the pioneers in early Hollywood and a significant figure in the development of film acting. In consideration of her contributions to American cinema, the American Film Institute named Pickford 24th among the greatest female stars of all time.
Film stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks wed on March 28, 1920 becoming what many refer to as “Hollywood’s First Royal Couple”. Mary Pickford, known as “America’s Sweetheart” and probably the most famous woman in the world at the time and Douglas Fairbanks were both among the leading actors of the era. They were both already married when they met a party in 1916 and they conducted a secret affair for years before Pickford obtained a divorce in March 1920. Fairbanks had divorced in November of the previous year. The couple married twenty-six days after Pickford’s divorce became final.
Pickford and Fairbanks went to Europe for their honeymoon. Fans in London and in Paris caused riots trying to get to the famous couple. The couple’s triumphant return to Hollywood was witnessed by vast crowds who turned out to hail them at railway stations across the United States. In 1920, Pickford and Fairbanks bought a hunting lodge and renovated it into a twenty-two room mansion they named “Pickfair.” The two threw lavish parties and dinners at Pickfair in which they entertained some of the most famous people in the world.
Pickford and Fairbanks had little time off from producing and acting in their films. They were also constantly on display as America’s unofficial ambassadors to the world, leading parades, cutting ribbons, and making speeches. The intense public nature of their marriage began to strain it to the breaking point. When their film careers both began to founder at the end of the silent era Fairbanks restless nature prompted him to overseas travel, something which Pickford did not enjoy. When Fairbanks’ affair with Sylvia, Lady Ashley became public in the early 1930s he and Pickford separated. They divorced January 10, 1936.