Posts Tagged ‘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.
“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat. everything a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“Movies are a fad. Audiences really want to see live actors on a stage.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“The glamour of it all! New York! America!” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“I have no further use for America. I wouldn’t go back there if Jesus Christ was President.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
“I am at peace with God. My conflict is with Man.” ~ Charlie Chaplin
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.
Lillian Diana Gish, born Oct. 14, 1893, was the more prominent star of the two and was one of America’s best loved actresses during the 1910’s and 20’s. Lillian’s acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912 to 1987. The longevity of her career earned her the nickname “The First Lady of American Cinema”. The American Film Institute (AFI) named Lillian Gish 17th among the greatest female stars of all time. She was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in 1971, and in 1984 she received an AFI Life Achievement Award.
Dorothy Elizabeth Gish, born March 11, 1898, would go on to star in over 100 short films and features herself, many of them with Lillian. For her contribution as an actress in motion pictures, Dorothy Gish was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6385 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, California.
When the sisters were young their father left the family before they old enough to remember him. Their mother then took up acting to support the family. When Lillian and Dorothy were old enough, they joined the theatre, often traveling separately in different productions. They also took modeling jobs. In 1912, their friend Mary Pickford introduced the sisters to D. W. Griffith, and helped get them contracts with Biograph Studios. The sisters debuted together in Griffith’s short film “An Unseen Enemy” (1912). The sisters maintained a very close relationship with each other throughout their life, as well as with Mary Pickford.
Dorothy Gish died in 1968 from bronchial pneumonia at the age of 70 at a clinic in Rapallo, Italy where she had been a patient for two years, with sister Lillian at her side. Dorothy Gish was entombed in Saint Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York City in the columbarium in the undercroft of the church. Lillian Gish died in her sleep of natural causes on February 27, 1993, aged 99 and is interred beside her sister Dorothy at Saint Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York City.