Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for The New York Journal of Books.
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Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Mary Pickford Married Owen Moore - January 7, 1911
This week (January 7-13) in Hollywood history – Mary
Pickford married Owen Moore (January 7, 1911); William Randolph Hearst bans all
advertising for Citizen Kane (January
8, 1941); Arthur Lake died (January 9, 1987); Ray Bolger was born (January 10,
1904); Ava Gardner married Mickey Rooney (January 10, 1942); Charlie Chaplin’s
assets were frozen during bitter divorce from Lita Grey (January 11, 1927);
Luise Rainer was born (January 12, 1910).
of the Week -
On January 7, 1911, silent film icon Mary Pickford,
married fellow actor Owen Moore. Known as “America’s Sweetheart,” Pickford was
the first true movie star. Before Pickford, movie studios avoided identifying
individual actors by name, for fear they would demand higher wages. Pickford
was born Gladys Smith on April 8, 1892 in Toronto, Canada. Her father, a
laborer, was killed in a work-related accident when she was five. She helped
support her mother and two younger siblings with her vaudeville act as “Baby
Gladys.” At age 14, she won a lead role on Broadway and adopted her stage name,
Mary Pickford. Two years later, she signed with Biograph Pictures for $40 a
Pickford appeared in many silent films, starting with The Violin Maker of Cremona, Her First Biscuits, and more than a
dozen other films in 1909, working at a similar clip over the next few years.
Pickford’s golden curls soon won attention from movie audiences, even though
they didn’t know the actress’s name. A shrewd negotiator, Pickford hopped from
studio to studio, boosting her salary each time, and was soon billed by name.
At age 18, she married Moore, her first husband. By 1912, she was earning $500
a week at Adolph Zukor’s Famous Players Company. Four years later, her salary had
grown to $10,000 a week, with a $300,000 bonus, plus her own production
company, The Mary Pickford Co. Pickford exercised veto power over her films and
had her pick of scripts, directors, and co-stars. She typically played young,
innocent girls but occasionally branched out: In 1929, she shaved her trademark
curls and played a flapper in the talkie Coquette,
for which she won an Oscar.
Pickford divorced Moore in 1920 over his alleged
alcoholism and, just three weeks later, married Hollywood star Douglas
Fairbanks. Fairbanks had been her partner, along with Charlie Chaplin and
director D.W. Griffith in United Artists Corp. since the previous year. As a
wedding present for Pickford, Fairbanks bought an estate boasting 22 rooms on
18 acres and Beverly Hills’ first swimming pool. The couple dubbed the property
“Pickfair.” Pickford retired from acting in 1933, but continued to be a
powerful movie producer and influential Hollywood force for many years. She and
Fairbanks divorced in 1936, and she married actor Charles “Buddy” Rogers the
following year. She remained a partner in United Artists until 1953. In 1975,
she received a special Oscar for her contributions to American film. She died
on May 29, 1979 in Santa Monica, California from a stroke and was buried at
Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.
Check back every
Wednesday for a new installment of “This Week in Hollywood History.”
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of six nonfiction
books that includes the award winning Fade
to Black Graveside Memories of Hollywood Greats, 1927-1950. Visit Michael’s
for more information. His book can be purchased from Amazon through the