Last week, I noticed that Google had a new doodle on its homepage honoring Mary Pickford:
Intrigued, I clicked on it to learn more about the lady in the drawing. I learned a lot about this awesome lady and want to share it with you!
Mary Pickford (given name: Gladys Louise Smith) was born Toronto, Canada on April 8, 1892, the oldest of three children, to John and Charlotte Smith. When Mary was about seven years old, her father passed away. In order to make ends meet, Mary’s mother began taking in boarders for income. One of her first boarders was a theatrical stage manager. He immediately saw something in little Mary and was able to have her cast in two plays.
Soon, acting became a family business. Mary, her mother, and her siblings traveled around taking parts wherever they could get them. Mary was growing frustrated. She decided that if she did not land a big role soon, she was going to quit acting for good. Not long after this declaration, Mary earned a role in the Broadway play, The Warrens of Virginia. It was in this play that Mary met Cecil B. deMille, another actor (and future famed director). After the play’s run was over, Mary was out of work again. She screen tested for a film, but was not chosen. However the director, D.W. Griffith, was taken with her and encouraged her to try out for more films. Because of this push, she was eventually cast in 51 films in 1909 alone!
Her career soared and she went on to form the independent film production company United Artists with D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks. Mary went on to be a producer as well as win an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1929.
Mary broke down barriers in an industry which still, to this day, is very much male-oriented. But kudos to Mary–aka, “The Girl With the Curls”–and the other women who are determined to follow their dreams and get more women on screen!