On April 16, 1889, future Hollywood legend Charlie Chaplin is born Charles Spencer Chaplin in London, England.
Chaplin, one of the most financially successful stars of early Hollywood, was introduced to the stage when he was five. The son of London music hall entertainers, young Chaplin was watching a show starring his mother when her voice cracked. He was quickly shuffled onto the stage to finish the act.
Chaplin’s father died when Chaplin was a toddler, and when his mother had a nervous breakdown Chaplin and his older half-brother, Sydney, roamed London, where they danced on the streets and collected pennies in a hat. They eventually went to an orphanage and joined the Eight Lancashire Lads, a children’s dance troupe. When Chaplin was 17, he developed his comedic skills with the help of Fred Karno’s company, for which his half-brother had already become a popular comedian. Soon, Chaplin’s bowler hat, out-turned feet, mustache and walking cane became his trademark. He joined the Keystone company and filmed Making a Living, in which he played a mustachioed villain who wore a monocle. It wasn’t long before he also worked on the other side of the camera, helping direct his 12th film and directing his 13th, Caught in the Rain, on his own.
Chaplin refined what would soon become his legacy, the character Charlie the Tramp, and signed on with the Essanay company in 1915 for $1,250 a week, plus a $10,000 bonus–quite a jump from the $175 that Keystone paid him. The next year, he signed with Mutual for $10,000 a week, plus a $150,000 bonus under a contract that required him to make 12 films annually but granted him complete creative control over the pictures. And in 1918, he signed a contract with First National for $1 million for eight films. A masterful silent film actor and pantomimist who could elicit both laughter and tears from his audiences, Chaplin resisted the arrival of sound in movies. Indeed, in his first film that featured sound (City Lights in 1931), he only used music. His first true sound film was 1940’s The Great Dictator, in which he mocked fascism.
Chaplin founded United Artists Corporation in 1919 with Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and director D.W. Griffith. Chaplin married twice more, both times to teenage girls. His fourth wife, Oona O’Neill, who was 18 when she married the 54-year-old actor, was the daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill. Though he had lived in the United States for 42 years, Chaplin never became a U.S. citizen. A vocal pacifist, Chaplin was accused of communist ties, which he denied. Nevertheless, in 1952, immigration officials prevented Chaplin and his wife from re-entering the United States after a foreign tour. The couple did not return to the United States for 20 years; instead they settled in Switzerland with their eight children. Chaplin returned to America 1972 to accept a special Academy Award for “the incalculable effect he has had on making motion pictures the art for and of this century.” He was knighted Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin in 1975. He died two years later.
These Are The Oldest Hollywood Stars Alive Today
Now that we're into the 2020s, it's a sad fact that many of the stars from Hollywood's Golden Age are no longer with us. When we sit down to enjoy a classic piece of cinema on a Sunday afternoon, we tend to assume that most of the actors we're watching are already at the big wrap party in the sky, but that's not always the case. While Hollywood history is littered with tragic tales of actors who left us too soon, there's an ever-shrinking group of veterans that were alive back when the "talkies" were still a new thing in theaters. Some of these stars are quietly enjoying their retirement after a busy life in Tinseltown, though a surprisingly large number of them remain active in the industry today.
From former screen sirens that still look glamorous well into their 90s, to the actor with the one hundred year career, we've put together a rundown of the oldest living Hollywood stars.
When you sit in our comfortable worn-leather booths, peruse our 100-year-old classic menu or sidle up to the mahogany bar, you’re not just enjoying fine food and great company. You’re a part of Hollywood history.
It’s a history that reads like a Hollywood script. Deals were made on the old pay phone — the first pay phone to be installed in Hollywood. Scripts were discussed over a famous Musso’s martini. Contracts were signed over exquisite meals of Roast Duck and Lamb Chops. Stars were born.
From the beginning, Musso’s has been a favorite among Hollywood’s A-list. Charlie Chaplin was an early regular. Often seen lunching with Mary Pickford, Rudolph Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks, Chaplin — legend has it — would challenge Douglas to a horse race down Hollywood Boulevard, and the winner had to pick up the tab at Musso’s. Charlie would win and gloat over a plate of Roast Lamb Kidneys, his favorite Musso’s meal.
In the ‘20s and ‘30s, it wasn’t uncommon to see Greta Garbo and Gary Cooper having breakfast together — flannel cakes and fresh coffee, of course. Or to bump into Humphrey Bogart having drinks at the bar with Dashielle Hammett or Lauren Bacall.
In the ‘50s, Hollywood legends like Marilyn Monroe (flanked by Joe DiMaggio), Elizabeth Taylor and Steve McQueen could be found enjoying drinks and appetizers in Musso’s famous Back Room. Jimmy Stewart, Rita Hayworth, Groucho Marx and John Barrymore also had starring roles at Musso’s.
Today, Musso’s remains a sophisticated Hollywood hangout. But don’t expect to be lining up for autographs. The owners and patrons of Musso’s still treat them the same way early owner John Mosso did — with respect and discretion.
1. Mary Pickford (1892-1979)
Though this true pioneer of a Hollywood actress was awarded the honorary title of “America’s Sweetheart,” Mary Pickford attributes many of her values and character inspirations to her Irish roots. Throughout her career she would recall stories and memories from her mother’s poverty-stricken upbringing in county Kerry, Ireland in order to build connections with her roles, which were typically those of young, honest, penniless female Irish immigrants or Irish-Americans (titles include “The Foundling” (1915), “Little Annie Rooney” (1925) and “Amarilly of Clothes-line Alley” (1918)).
With a cunning, confident feminine presence mixed with an innocent “girl-next-door” quality, Pickford carved her way through the male-dominated Hollywood industry, becoming the most highly paid woman in the world by age 27—before women were even allowed to vote.
Her subtleties in body language and facial gestures are known to have influenced Charlie Chaplin, with whom she had a close relationship, as they were both revered in the silent film era.
In a 1965 interview for American television, Pickford noted that she and other Irish actors of the early Hollywood era stuck together and maintained a strong connection. Sometimes endearingly called “the girl with curls” for her characteristic ringlets of red hair, Pickford was admired for her beauty, but more importantly for her originality, passion and intelligence in claiming Hollywood her own.
2. Chauncey Olcott (1858-1932)
Though originally from New York, performer Chancellor Olcott, more informally known as Chauncey, made a successful and celebrated career inspired by his Irish descent.
Debuting in 1880 as a ballad singer in minstrel shows, Olcott went on to find fame on Broadway, having played the role of acclaimed actress Lillian Russell’s leading man in “Pepita or, The Girl with the Glass Eyes” (1886). Though Russell is credited with having started Olcott’s career, he went on to find a stronger passion in romantic musicals.
Most notably, he starred in “A Romance of Athlone” (1899) and “The Isle O’Dreams” (1912), for which he wrote and composed numbers “My Wild Irish Rose” and “When Irish Eyes are Smiling,” respectively.
His unfortunate death in 1932 catalyzed posthumous recognitions: Warner Bros. released a film titled “My Wild Irish Rose (1947)” about his life (starring Dennis Morgan), and Olcott was later inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
With a powerful yet sweet, delicate voice, Olcott sang and danced his way to stardom using his Irish roots as fuel, and continued to maintain high reverence after his death.
3. Charlie Chaplin (1889-1997)
To be fair, film icon and master of silent film Charlie Chaplin is not of Irish descent. However, interestingly enough, starting in 1959 he began to take his family on yearly vacations to the village of Waterville in County Kerry, Ireland, quickly becoming their most beloved visitor.
The English actor/figure is perhaps most widely known for his screen persona “The Tramp” in all his slapstick glory.
In between directing, acting in, writing, producing, editing and composing the score for manifold famous works unrelated to Ireland, Chaplin always did manage to find time in each year to visit beautiful Waterville. His fourth wife, Oona O’Neill, daughter of Pulitzer-Prize-winning Irish American playwright Eugene O’Neill, is of close Irish descent, so while Chaplin may not be Irish, his children with Oona have roots in the Emerald Isle.
Touched by his commitment to vacationing there, residents of Waterville erected a bronze statue of Chaplin, with a plaque thanking him for his ritual visits. It reads, in Irish and in English, “For the man who made the movies speak in the hearts of millions[,] Charlie spent many years in our midst as a humble guest and friend to many.” In the statue he wears a comedic poorly buttoned suit, and stands with a quirky hand on his hip and typical expressive smile.
4. Helen Kane (1904-1966)
Helen Kane, our beloved original “Boop Boop a Doop Girl,” likely the inspiration for iconic cartoon Betty Boop, also came from an Irish home. Kane’s mother, an Irish immigrant, helped her daughter into minor stardom by reluctantly purchasing her first costume for the role of the queen in a school production—with money tight, a dress of three dollars seemed an ordeal.
But perhaps we can give thanks to this dress and play as the reason Kane fell in love with theater—she quickly made a beeline for vaudeville and kickdancing, easing her way into the world of Hollywood and Broadway in films and plays such as “Stars of the Future” (1922-24) with her young baby-talk voice as her trademark.
She made quite a name for herself in music—of all of her soundtracks, solo performances and songs with her trio “The Three X Sisters,” Kane is recognized mostly for her track “I Wanna be Loved By You,” which was later performed by Marilyn Monroe in “Some Like it Hot.”
With her trademark doe eyes and pouty lips, Kane became a scatting, singing, flapping, acting, dancing, baby-talking extraordinaire with lovable grace and glamor. Who would have guessed that Betty Boop’s inspiration came from an Irish household?
5. Sara Allgood (1879-1950)
Born in the heart of Dublin, Sara Allgood, also known as Sally Allgood, began acting at Dublin’s famed Abbey Theatre. Allgood had a warm, comforting and perhaps matronly appearance because of these features, in films she was often typecast as Irish mothers, landladies, neighborhood gossips and the like.
She is best remembered for her role in motion picture “How Green Was My Valley” as Mrs. Morgan, the mother of a family of Welsh miners, for which she received an Academy Award nomination.
Allgood keeps a stunning filmography under her belt, having starred in around fifty notable films, including “Cheaper by the Dozen” (1950), “Jane Eyre” (1943), “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (1941), “My Wild Irish Rose” (1947) about Chauncey Olcott.
She also starred in quite a few early Hitchcock films such as “Sabotage” (1936), “Blackmail” (1929), and “Juno and the Paycock” (1930), which her sister, actress Maire O’Neill, starred in as well.
She was heavily involved in the opening of the Irish National Theatre Society, and was a close friend of widely acclaimed Irish poet William Butler Yeats. Yeats’s muse, Irish revolutionary and feminist Maud Gonne, was a greatly influential teacher to Allgood and her sister Maire.
6. Helen Hayes (1900-1993)
Helen Hayes, one of only twelve people to win an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony), had Irish Catholic maternal grandparents who emigrated from Ireland during the Great Famine.
After she won the Academy Award for best actress in “The Sin of Madelon Claudet” (1931), she skyrocketed into fame with films such as Hemingway adaptation “A Farewell to Arms” (1932), “What Every Woman Knows” (1934), “The White Sister” (1933) opposite Clark Gable, and many, many more.
Hayes’s heart was more strongly in Broadway, however, and preferred the stage to the big screen. Lucille Ball once wrote her a fan letter, and with mutual admiration, Hayes suggested that they work together one day, which they did in 1971. Hayes appeared on an episode of “Here’s Lucy” titled “Lucy and the Little Old Woman” as a destitute Irish woman in search of work.
Hayes was proud of her Irish roots she was a great Irish dancer, and in a magazine interview, after mention of her small stature, she playfully referred to herself as “a little Irish biddy.”
As a widely admired, award winning actress and a renowned philanthropist, Hayes unfortunately passed away on Saint Patrick’s Day of 1993.
7. Maureen O’Sullivan (1911-1988)
You may recognize her as the curious American Jane from Tarzan, but Maureen O’Sullivan is as Irish as it gets. Born in Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland, O’Sullivan attended convent school in Dublin as a girl.
O’Sullivan, mother of actress Mia Farrow, found success in the 1931 film “A Connecticut Yankee,” and after acting for twelve years, she took a hiatus to raise seven children, but flashed her charming smile to the world once again in 1948 film “The Big Clock,” which was directed by her then-husband John Farrow.
Though O’Sullivan got an early start in Hollywood, and will forever hold the title of classic actress and beauty, she continued strong in Hollywood all throughout the eighties, in recognizable films such as “Peggy Sue Got Married” alongside Nicolas Cage and in Woody Allen’s acclaimed film “Hannah and her Sisters,” both of which were released in 1986.
8. Geraldine Fitzgerald (1913-2005)
Another charming and talented Irish Hollywood starlet is Geraldine Fitzgerald, born in Greystones, County Wicklow, Ireland. Before she discovered her true talent for acting, she studied painting at the Dublin School of Art.
She starred in countless films, but her most notable achievements were an Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Isabella Linton in “Wuthering Heights” (1939) and her leading role in the American box-office hit “Dark Victory” (1939).
Since “Dark Victory,” she made quite a name for herself in American film and television, acting in part of the “Poltergeist” horror film series in 1986 and a few comedies such as “Arthur” (1981). She made a debut on one of America’s favorite sitcoms, The Golden Girls, as well.
The Irish actress had an energetic run on Broadway, and she also received a Tony Award nomination for her directing of a play titled “Mass Appeal” about a Roman-Catholic pastor and a young deacon.
9. Rex Ingram (1892-1950)
Rex Ingram, born in Dublin in 1882, became one of the most talented and acclaimed directors in Hollywood history, gaining the title of “the Silent Master” for his ability to create numerous blockbuster hits in the silent-film era.
Though many silent-film directors such as Hitchcock went on to direct talking pictures, Ingram stayed true to his passion, and eventually faded into silent obscurity—not for a second, however, did he stop influencing today’s directors.
He is respected by virtually every person in Hollywood director Erich von Stroheim once referred to him as the world’s greatest director. His 1921 Blockbuster hit “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” hugely inspired Martin Scorsese, who repeatedly played the film back to himself as he reimagined his own film “Hugo” (2011), a tribute to silent film.
Ingram was also a well-known actor in over twenty films such as “Love in Morocco” (1933) in which he played dashing André Duval, or short film “Camille” (1926) in which he played Irish political leader Charles Stewart Parnell.
10. James Cagney (1899-1986)
Another very famous star of Irish descent is James Cagney, actor and dancer.
Though he was indeed a highly impressive dancer, most of his fame comes from his films, in which he was often typecast as the aggressive or violent “tough guy” who always ended up being a little bit more multi-faceted than what met the eye.
Some of these roles were in films such as “Taxi!” or cult gangster film “Public Enemy,” or “Angels with Dirty Faces” alongside other Irish-American actor Pat O’Brien. Cagney and O’Brien starred together in 1935 film “The Irish in Us” as the New York City O’Hara brothers.
A surefire Hollywood legend, Cagney starred in an incredible amount of successful films, many of which belonged to Warner Bros. In 1974, Cagney received The American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award, and is respected and remembered for his eloquence, his distinctive voice, and his ability to pull off sharp lines or deadpan comedy in serious films.
11. Pat O’Brien (1899-1983)
Our last old Hollywood actor of Irish descent showcased his Irish roots loudly and proudly with every bone in his body. Pat O’Brien was often referred to as “Hollywood’s Irishman in Residence” by the press, as most of his roles were that of Irish or Irish-American men.
He wore the Irish badge with honor in Hollywood, and was often associated with aforementioned actor James Cagney, as they were a dynamic duo (“Angels with Dirty Faces” (1938), “The Irish in Us” (1935), and many more). He was most famous in the 1930s and 40s for his roles of figureheads such as military leaders, cops and priests, demanding attention and respect in and out of character. All four of O’Brien’s grandparents hail from County Cork, Ireland. O’Brien, Cagney and other Irish-American actors such as Frank McHugh and Spencer Tracy often used to meet and converse together regularly, calling themselves “the Boys Club”—but Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky referred to them, jokingly, as “the Irish Mafia.”
Remembering Charlie Chaplin: Best Quotes By The Comic Legend
Charlie Chaplin, an English actor, the comic genius is known by the world as the best silent movie artist. Born on April 16, 1889, Chaplin dedicated his entire life to films and making people laugh. He is considered one of the most important figures in the history of cinema.
Started from the age of 10, Chaplin worked till the end and gave us some of the best works that we see today. 'The Great Dictator' is still considered one of the best films of all time. City Lights, The Kid, A Woman of Paris, The Gold Rush and Modern Times are just a few names from the list of gems that this star has left us.
An Actor, Director, Screenplay Writer, Comic Legend, Composer and the greatest performer of all time. Remembering the jovial Charlie Chaplin on his birthday, let’s take a look at some of the best quotes by the legend.
Charlie Chaplin Quotes:
"A day without laughter is a day wasted."
"Nothing is permanent in this wicked world - not even our troubles."
"The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury."
"We think too much and feel too little."
"I always like walking in the rain, so no one can see me crying."
"Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot."
"Life can be wonderful if you're not afraid of it. All it needs is courage, imagination and a little dough."
"You'll never find a rainbow if you're looking down."
"Perfect love is the most beautiful of all frustrations because it is more than one can express."
"Imagination means nothing without doing."
What do you want a meaning for? Life is a desire, not a meaning."
"Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease from pain."
"I am a citizen of the world."
"I hope we shall abolish war and settle all differences at the conference table."
Chaplin played some unsympathetic characters in his early films. But before too long he took on the role that would define his career — that of the underdog, prevailing in the face of life's hardships. In later masterpieces such as "Modern Times" (1936), Chaplin also used film to critique society. Here, he was literally the man caught up in wheels of industrialization.
Then: The Janes House
The Janes House is a 1903 remnant of the Victorian homes built on Hollywood Boulevard starting in the 1880s. The Jane sisters opened a school in the house in 1911 and taught the children of celebrities such as Cecile B. DeMille and Charlie Chaplin. Back then, The Janes House was surrounded by orange groves to the north and south. "They would cut back the groves to build," Wanamaker says.
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Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE was an English comic actor and film director of the silent film era. He became one of the best-known film stars in the world before the end of the First World War. Chaplin used mime, slapstick and other visual comedy routines, and continued well into the era of the talkies, though his films decreased in frequency from the end of the 1920s. His most famous role was that of The Tramp, which he first played in the Keystone comedy Kid Auto Races at Venice in 1914. From the April 1914 one-reeler Twenty Minutes of Love onwards he was writing and directing most of his films, by 1916 he was also producing, and from 1918 composing the music. With Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D. W. Griffith, he co-founded United Artists in 1919.
Chaplin was one of the most creative and influential personalities of the silent-film era. He was influenced by his predecessor, the French silent movie comedian Max Linder, to whom he dedicated one of his films. His working life in entertainment spanned over 75 years, from the Victorian stage and the Music Hall in the United Kingdom as a child performer, until close to his death at the age of 88. His high-profile public and private life encompassed both adulation and controversy. Chaplin's identification with the left ultimately forced him to resettle in Europe during the McCarthy era in the early 1950s.
In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Chaplin the 10th greatest male screen legend of all time. In 2008, Martin Sieff, in a review of the book , wrote: "Chaplin was not just 'big', he was gigantic. In 1915, he burst onto a war-torn world bringing it the gift of comedy, laughter and relief while it was tearing itself apart through World War I. Over the next 25 years, through the Great Depression and the rise of Adolf Hitler, he stayed on the job.
Mary Pickford was born Gladys Marie Smith in 1892 (although she later claimed 1893 or 1894 as her year of birth) at 211 University Avenue, [a] Toronto, Ontario.  Her father, John Charles Smith was the son of English Methodist immigrants, and worked a variety of odd jobs. Her mother, Charlotte Hennessey, was of Irish Catholic descent and worked for a time as a seamstress. She had two younger siblings, Charlotte, called "Lottie" (born 1893), and John Charles, called "Jack" (born 1896), who also became actors. To please her husband's relatives, Pickford's mother baptized her children as Methodists, the religion of their father. John Charles Smith was an alcoholic he abandoned the family and died on February 11, 1898, from a fatal blood clot caused by a workplace accident when he was a purser with Niagara Steamship. 
When Gladys was four years old, her household was under infectious quarantine as a public health measure. Their devoutly Catholic maternal grandmother (Catherine Faeley Hennessey) asked a visiting Roman Catholic priest to baptize the children. Pickford was at this time baptized as Gladys Marie Smith.  
After being widowed in 1899, Charlotte Smith began taking in boarders, one of whom was a Mr. Murphy, the theatrical stage manager for Cummings Stock Company, who soon suggested that Gladys, then age seven, and Lottie, then age six, be given two small theatrical roles – Gladys portrayed a girl and a boy, while Lottie was cast in a silent part in the company's production of The Silver King at Toronto's Princess Theatre (destroyed by fire in 1915, rebuilt, demolished in 1931), while their mother played the organ.   Pickford subsequently acted in many melodramas with Toronto's Valentine Stock Company, finally playing the major child role in its version of The Silver King. She capped her short career in Toronto with the starring role of Little Eva in the Valentine production of Uncle Tom's Cabin, adapted from the 1852 novel. 
Early years Edit
By the early 1900s, theatre had become a family enterprise. Gladys, her mother and two younger siblings toured the United States by rail, performing in third-rate companies and plays. After six impoverished years, Pickford allowed one more summer to land a leading role on Broadway, planning to quit acting if she failed. In 1906 Gladys, Lottie and Jack Smith supported singer Chauncey Olcott on Broadway in Edmund Burke.  Gladys finally landed a supporting role in a 1907 Broadway play, The Warrens of Virginia. The play was written by William C. deMille, whose brother, Cecil, appeared in the cast. David Belasco, the producer of the play, insisted that Gladys Smith assume the stage name Mary Pickford.  After completing the Broadway run and touring the play, however, Pickford was again out of work.
On April 19, 1909, the Biograph Company director D. W. Griffith screen-tested her at the company's New York studio for a role in the nickelodeon film Pippa Passes. The role went to someone else but Griffith was immediately taken with Pickford. She quickly grasped that movie acting was simpler than the stylized stage acting of the day. Most Biograph actors earned $5 a day but, after Pickford's single day in the studio, Griffith agreed to pay her $10 a day against a guarantee of $40 a week. 
Pickford, like all actors at Biograph, played both bit parts and leading roles, including mothers, ingenues, charwomen, spitfires, slaves, Native Americans, spurned women, and a prostitute. As Pickford said of her success at Biograph:
I played scrubwomen and secretaries and women of all nationalities . I decided that if I could get into as many pictures as possible, I'd become known, and there would be a demand for my work.
She appeared in 51 films in 1909 – almost one a week – with her first starring role being in The Violin Maker of Cremona opposite future husband Owen Moore.  While at Biograph, she suggested to Florence La Badie to "try pictures", invited her to the studio and later introduced her to D. W. Griffith, who launched La Badie's career. 
In January 1910, Pickford traveled with a Biograph crew to Los Angeles. Many other film companies wintered on the West Coast, escaping the weak light and short days that hampered winter shooting in the East. Pickford added to her 1909 Biographs (Sweet and Twenty, They Would Elope, and To Save Her Soul, to name a few) with films made in California.
Actors were not listed in the credits in Griffith's company. Audiences noticed and identified Pickford within weeks of her first film appearance. Exhibitors, in turn, capitalized on her popularity by advertising on sandwich boards that a film featuring "The Girl with the Golden Curls", "Blondilocks", or "The Biograph Girl" was inside. 
Pickford left Biograph in December 1910. The following year, she starred in films at Carl Laemmle's Independent Moving Pictures Company (IMP). IMP was absorbed into Universal Pictures in 1912, along with Majestic. Unhappy with their creative standards, Pickford returned to work with Griffith in 1912. Some of her best performances were in his films, such as Friends, The Mender of Nets, Just Like a Woman, and The Female of the Species. That year, Pickford also introduced Dorothy and Lillian Gish – whom she had befriended as new neighbors from Ohio  – to Griffith,  and each became major silent film stars, in comedy and tragedy, respectively. Pickford made her last Biograph picture, The New York Hat, in late 1912.
She returned to Broadway in the David Belasco production of A Good Little Devil (1912). This was a major turning point in her career. Pickford, who had always hoped to conquer the Broadway stage, discovered how deeply she missed film acting. In 1913, she decided to work exclusively in film. The previous year, Adolph Zukor had formed Famous Players in Famous Plays. It was later known as Famous Players-Lasky and then Paramount Pictures, one of the first American feature film companies.
Pickford left the stage to join Zukor's roster of stars. Zukor believed film's potential lay in recording theatrical players in replicas of their most famous stage roles and productions. Zukor first filmed Pickford in a silent version of A Good Little Devil. The film, produced in 1913, showed the play's Broadway actors reciting every line of dialogue, resulting in a stiff film that Pickford later called "one of the worst [features] I ever made . it was deadly".  Zukor agreed he held the film back from distribution for a year.
Pickford's work in material written for the camera by that time had attracted a strong following. Comedy-dramas, such as In the Bishop's Carriage (1913), Caprice (1913), and especially Hearts Adrift (1914), made her irresistible to moviegoers. Hearts Adrift was so popular that Pickford asked for the first of her many publicized pay raises based on the profits and reviews.  The film marked the first time Pickford's name was featured above the title on movie marquees.  Tess of the Storm Country was released five weeks later. Biographer Kevin Brownlow observed that the film "sent her career into orbit and made her the most popular actress in America, if not the world". 
Her appeal was summed up two years later by the February 1916 issue of Photoplay as "luminous tenderness in a steel band of gutter ferocity".  Only Charlie Chaplin, who slightly surpassed Pickford's popularity in 1916,  had a similarly spellbinding pull with critics and the audience. Each enjoyed a level of fame far exceeding that of other actors. Throughout the 1910s and 1920s, Pickford was believed to be the most famous woman in the world, or, as a silent-film journalist described her, "the best known woman who has ever lived, the woman who was known to more people and loved by more people than any other woman that has been in all history". 
Pickford starred in 52 features throughout her career. On June 24, 1916, Pickford signed a new contract with Zukor that granted her full authority over production of the films in which she starred,  and a record-breaking salary of $10,000 a week.  In addition, Pickford's compensation was half of a film's profits, with a guarantee of $1,040,000 (US$18,720,000 in 2021),  making her the first actress to sign a million dollar contract.  She also became vice-president of Pickford Film Corporation. 
Occasionally, she played a child, in films such as The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917), Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917), Daddy-Long-Legs (1919) and Pollyanna (1920). Pickford's fans were devoted to these "little girl" roles, but they were not typical of her career.  Due to her lack of a normal childhood, she enjoyed making these pictures. Given how small she was at under five feet, and her naturalistic acting abilities, she was very successful in these roles. Douglas Fairbanks Jr., when he first met her in person as a boy, assumed she was a new playmate for him, and asked her to come and play trains with him, which she obligingly did. 
In August 1918, Pickford's contract expired and, when refusing Zukor's terms for a renewal, she was offered $250,000 to leave the motion picture business. She declined, and went to First National Pictures, which agreed to her terms.  In 1919, Pickford, along with D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks, formed the independent film production company United Artists. Through United Artists, Pickford continued to produce and perform in her own movies she could also distribute them as she chose. In 1920, Pickford's film Pollyanna grossed around $1,100,000.  The following year, Pickford's film Little Lord Fauntleroy was also a success, and in 1923, Rosita grossed over $1,000,000 as well.  During this period, she also made Little Annie Rooney (1925), another film in which Pickford played a child, Sparrows (1926), which blended the Dickensian with newly minted German expressionist style, and My Best Girl (1927), a romantic comedy featuring her future husband Charles "Buddy" Rogers.
The arrival of sound was her undoing. Pickford underestimated the value of adding sound to movies, claiming that "adding sound to movies would be like putting lipstick on the Venus de Milo". 
She played a reckless socialite in Coquette (1929), her first talkie,  a role for which her famous ringlets were cut into a 1920s' bob. Pickford had already cut her hair in the wake of her mother's death in 1928. Fans were shocked at the transformation.  Pickford's hair had become a symbol of female virtue, and when she cut it, the act made front-page news in The New York Times and other papers. Coquette was a success and won her an Academy Award for Best Actress,  although this was highly controversial.  The public failed to respond to her in the more sophisticated roles. Like most movie stars of the silent era, Pickford found her career fading as talkies became more popular among audiences. 
Her next film, The Taming of The Shrew, made with husband Douglas Fairbanks, was not well received at the box office.  Established Hollywood actors were panicked by the impending arrival of the talkies. On March 29, 1928, The Dodge Brothers Hour was broadcast from Pickford's bungalow, featuring Fairbanks, Chaplin, Norma Talmadge, Gloria Swanson, John Barrymore, D. W. Griffith, and Dolores del Río, among others. They spoke on the radio show to prove that they could meet the challenge of talking movies. 
A transition in the roles Pickford selected came when she was in her late 30s, no longer able to play the children, teenage spitfires, and feisty young women so adored by her fans, and was not suited for the glamorous and vampish heroines of early sound. In 1933, she underwent a Technicolor screen test for an animated/live action film version of Alice in Wonderland, but Walt Disney discarded the project when Paramount released its own version of the book. Only one Technicolor still of her screen test still exists.
She retired from film acting in 1933 following three costly failures with her last film appearance being Secrets.   She appeared on stage in Chicago in 1934 in the play The Church Mouse and went on tour in 1935, starting in Seattle with the stage version of Coquette.  She also appeared in a season of radio plays for NBC in 1935 and CBS in 1936.  In 1936 she became vice-president of United Artists  and continued to produce films for others, including One Rainy Afternoon (1936), The Gay Desperado (1936), Sleep, My Love (1948 with Claudette Colbert) and Love Happy (1949), with the Marx Brothers. 
The film industry Edit
Pickford used her stature in the movie industry to promote a variety of causes. Although her image depicted fragility and innocence, she proved to be a strong businesswoman who took control of her career in a cutthroat industry. 
During World War I she promoted the sale of Liberty Bonds, making an intensive series of fund-raising speeches, beginning in Washington, D.C., where she sold bonds alongside Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Theda Bara, and Marie Dressler. Five days later she spoke on Wall Street to an estimated 50,000 people. Though Canadian-born, she was a powerful symbol of Americana, kissing the American flag for cameras and auctioning one of her world-famous curls for $15,000. In a single speech in Chicago, she sold an estimated five million dollars' worth of bonds. She was christened the U.S. Navy's official "Little Sister" the Army named two cannons after her and made her an honorary colonel. 
In 1916, Pickford and Constance Adams DeMille, wife of director Cecil B. DeMille, helped found the Hollywood Studio Club, a dormitory for young women involved in the motion picture business.  At the end of World War I, Pickford conceived of the Motion Picture Relief Fund, an organization to help financially needy actors. Leftover funds from her work selling Liberty Bonds were put toward its creation, and in 1921, the Motion Picture Relief Fund (MPRF) was officially incorporated, with Joseph Schenck voted its first president and Pickford its vice president. In 1932, Pickford spearheaded the "Payroll Pledge Program", a payroll-deduction plan for studio workers who gave one half of one percent of their earnings to the MPRF. As a result, in 1940, the Fund was able to purchase land and build the Motion Picture Country House and Hospital, in Woodland Hills, California. 
An astute businesswoman, Pickford became her own producer within three years of her start in features. According to her Foundation, "she oversaw every aspect of the making of her films, from hiring talent and crew to overseeing the script, the shooting, the editing, to the final release and promotion of each project". She demanded (and received) these powers in 1916, when she was under contract to Zukor's Famous Players in Famous Plays (later Paramount). Zukor acquiesced to her refusal to participate in block-booking, the widespread practice of forcing an exhibitor to show a bad film of the studio's choosing to also be able to show a Pickford film. In 1916, Pickford's films were distributed, singly, through a special distribution unit called Artcraft. The Mary Pickford Corporation was briefly Pickford's motion-picture production company. 
In 1919, she increased her power by co-founding United Artists (UA) with Charlie Chaplin, D. W. Griffith, and her soon-to-be husband, Douglas Fairbanks. Before UA's creation, Hollywood studios were vertically integrated, not only producing films but forming chains of theaters. Distributors (also part of the studios) arranged for company productions to be shown in the company's movie venues. Filmmakers relied on the studios for bookings in return they put up with what many considered creative interference. [ citation needed ]
United Artists broke from this tradition. It was solely a distribution company, offering independent film producers access to its own screens as well as the rental of temporarily unbooked cinemas owned by other companies. Pickford and Fairbanks produced and shot their films after 1920 at the jointly owned Pickford-Fairbanks studio on Santa Monica Boulevard. The producers who signed with UA were true independents, producing, creating and controlling their work to an unprecedented degree. As a co-founder, as well as the producer and star of her own films, Pickford became the most powerful woman who has ever worked in Hollywood. By 1930, Pickford's acting career had largely faded.  After retiring three years later, however, she continued to produce films for United Artists. She and Chaplin remained partners in the company for decades. Chaplin left the company in 1955, and Pickford followed suit in 1956, selling her remaining shares for $3 million. 
She had bought the rights to many of her early silent films with the intention of burning them on her death, but in 1970 she agreed to donate 50 of her Biograph films to the American Film Institute.  In 1976, she received an Academy Honorary Award for her contribution to American film. 
Pickford was married three times. She married Owen Moore, an Irish-born silent film actor, on January 7, 1911. It is rumored she became pregnant by Moore in the early 1910s and had a miscarriage or an abortion. Some accounts suggest this resulted in her later inability to have children.  The couple's marriage was strained by Moore's alcoholism, insecurity about living in the shadow of Pickford's fame, and bouts of domestic violence. [ citation needed ] The couple lived together on-and-off for several years. 
Pickford became secretly involved in a relationship with Douglas Fairbanks. They toured the U.S. together in 1918 to promote Liberty Bond sales for the World War I effort. Around this time, Pickford also suffered from the flu during the 1918 flu pandemic.  Pickford divorced Moore on March 2, 1920, after she agreed to his $100,000 demand for a settlement.  She married Fairbanks just days later on March 28, 1920 in what was described as the "marriage of the century" and they were referred to as the King and Queen of Hollywood.  They 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.
The Mark of Zorro (1920) and a series of other swashbucklers gave the popular Fairbanks a more romantic, heroic image. Pickford continued to epitomize the virtuous but fiery girl next door. Even at private parties, people instinctively stood up when Pickford entered a room she and her husband were often referred to as "Hollywood royalty". Their international reputations were broad. Foreign heads of state and dignitaries who visited the White House often asked if they could also visit Pickfair, the couple's mansion in Beverly Hills. 
Dinners at Pickfair became celebrity events. Charlie Chaplin, Fairbanks' best friend, was often present. Other guests included George Bernard Shaw, Albert Einstein, Elinor Glyn, Helen Keller, H. G. Wells, Lord Mountbatten, Fritz Kreisler, Amelia Earhart, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Noël Coward, Max Reinhardt, Baron Nishi, Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko,  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Austen Chamberlain, Sir Harry Lauder, and Meher Baba, among others. The public nature of Pickford's second marriage strained it to the breaking point. Both she 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. When their film careers both began to flounder at the end of the silent era, Fairbanks' restless nature prompted him to overseas travel (something which Pickford did not enjoy). When Fairbanks' romance with Sylvia, Lady Ashley became public in the early 1930s, he and Pickford separated. They divorced January 10, 1936. Fairbanks' son by his first wife, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., claimed his father and Pickford long regretted their inability to reconcile. 
On June 24, 1937, Pickford married her third and last husband, actor and band leader Charles "Buddy" Rogers. They adopted two children: Roxanne (born 1944, adopted 1944) and Ronald Charles (born 1937, adopted 1943, a.k.a. Ronnie Pickford Rogers). A PBS American Experience documentary described Pickford's relationship with her children as tense. She criticized their physical imperfections, including Ronnie's small stature and Roxanne's crooked teeth. Both children later said their mother was too self-absorbed to provide real maternal love. In 2003, Ronnie recalled that "Things didn't work out that much, you know. But I'll never forget her. I think that she was a good woman." 
Political views Edit
In 1926, while in Italy, she (together with Fairbanks) met fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
Later years and death Edit
After retiring from the screen, Pickford became an alcoholic, as her father had been. Her mother Charlotte died of breast cancer in March 1928. Her siblings, Lottie and Jack, both died of alcohol-related causes in 1936 and 1933, respectively. These deaths, her divorce from Fairbanks, and the end of silent films left Pickford deeply depressed. Her relationship with her adopted children, Roxanne and Ronald, was turbulent at best. Pickford withdrew and gradually became a recluse, remaining almost entirely at Pickfair and allowing visits only from Lillian Gish, her stepson Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and few other people.
In 1955, she published her memoirs, Sunshine and Shadows.  She had previously published Why Not Try God in 1934, an essay on spirituality and personal growth, My Rendevouz of Life (1935), an essay on death and her belief in an afterlife and also a novel in 1935, The Demi-Widow.   She appeared in court in 1959, in a matter pertaining to her co-ownership of North Carolina TV station WSJS-TV. The court date coincided with the date of her 67th birthday under oath, when asked to give her age, Pickford replied: "I'm 21, going on 20." 
In the mid-1960s, Pickford often received visitors only by telephone, speaking to them from her bedroom. Charles "Buddy" Rogers often gave guests tours of Pickfair, including views of a genuine western bar Pickford had bought for Douglas Fairbanks, and a portrait of Pickford in the drawing room. A print of this image now hangs in the Library of Congress.  When Pickford received an Academy Honorary Award in 1976, the Academy sent a TV crew to her house to record her short statement of thanks – offering the public a very rare glimpse into Pickfair Manor.  Charitable events continued to be held at Pickfair, including an annual Christmas party for blind war veterans, mostly from World War I. 
Pickford believed that she had ceased to be a British subject when she married an American citizen upon her marriage to Fairbanks in 1920.  Thus, she never acquired Canadian citizenship when it was first created in 1947. However, Pickford held and traveled under a British/Canadian passport which she renewed regularly at the British/Canadian consulates in Los Angeles, and she did not take out papers for American citizenship. She also owned a house in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Toward the end of her life, Pickford made arrangements with the Canadian Department of Citizenship to officially acquire Canadian citizenship because she wished to "die as a Canadian". Canadian authorities were not sure that she had ever lost her Canadian citizenship, given her passport status, but her request was approved and she officially became a Canadian citizen.  
On May 29, 1979, Pickford died at a Santa Monica, California, hospital of complications from a cerebral hemorrhage she had suffered the week before.  She was interred in the Garden of Memory of the Forest Lawn Memorial Park cemetery in Glendale, California.
- Pickford was awarded a star in the category of motion pictures on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6280 Hollywood Blvd. 
- Her handprints and footprints are displayed at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California.
- She is represented in Hergé's Tintin in America. 
- The Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood, constructed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, opened in 1948 as a radio and television studio facility.
- The Mary Pickford Theater at the James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress is named in her honor. 
- The Mary Pickford Auditorium at Claremont McKenna College is named in her honor.
- In 1948, Mary Pickford built a seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom, 6,050 square foot estate on 2.12 acres at the B Bar H Ranch, California where she lived and then later sold. 
- A first-run movie theatre in Cathedral City, California is called The Mary Pickford Theatre, which was established on May 25, 2001.  The theater is a grand one with several screens and is built in the shape of a Spanish Cathedral, complete with bell tower and three-story lobby. The lobby contains a historic display with original artifacts belonging to Pickford and Buddy Rogers, her last husband. Among them are a rare and spectacular beaded gown she wore in the film Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall (1924) designed by Mitchell Leisen, her special Oscar, and a jewelry box. 
- The 1980 stage musical The Biograph Girl, about the silent film era, features the character of Pickford.
- In 2007, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sued the estate of the deceased Buddy Rogers' second wife, Beverly Rogers, in order to stop the public sale of one of Pickford's Oscars. 
- A bust and historical plaque marks her birthplace in Toronto, now the site of the Hospital for Sick Children.  The plaque was unveiled by her husband Buddy Rogers in 1973. The bust by artist Eino Gira was added ten years later.  Her date of birth is stated on the plaque as April 8, 1893. This can only be assumed to be because her date of birth was never registered throughout her life, beginning as a child, she led many people to believe that she was a year younger than her real age, so that she appeared to be more of an acting prodigy and continued to be cast in younger roles, which were more plentiful in the theatre. 
- The family home had been demolished in 1943, and many of the bricks delivered to Pickford in California. Proceeds from the sale of the property were donated by Pickford to build a bungalow in East York, Ontario, which was then a Toronto suburb. The bungalow was the first prize in a lottery in Toronto to benefit war charities, and Pickford unveiled the home on May 26, 1943. 
- In 1993, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars was dedicated to her. 
- Pickford received a posthumous star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto in 1999.
- Pickford was featured on a Canadian postage stamp in 2006. 
- From January 2011 until July 2011, the Toronto International Film Festival exhibited a collection of Mary Pickford memorabilia in the Canadian Film Gallery of the TIFF Bell LightBox building. 
- In February 2011, the Spadina Museum, dedicated to the 1920s and 1930s era in Toronto, staged performances of Sweetheart: The Mary Pickford Story, a one-woman musical based on the life and career of Pickford. 
- In 2013, a copy of an early Pickford film that was thought to be lost (Their First Misunderstanding) was found by Peter Massie, a carpenter tearing down an abandoned barn in New Hampshire. It was donated to Keene State College and is currently undergoing restoration by the Library of Congress for exhibition. The film is notable as being the first in which Pickford was credited by name. 
- On August 29, 2014, while presenting Behind The Scenes (1914) at Cinecon, film historian Jeffrey Vance announced he is working with the Mary Pickford Foundation on what will be her official biography.
- The Google Doodle of April 8, 2017 commemorated Mary Pickford's 125th birthday. 
- The Girls in the Picture, a 2018 novel by Melanie Benjamin, is a historical fiction about the friendship of Mary Pickford and screenwriter Frances Marion. 
- On August 20, 2019, the Toronto International Film Festival announced Mati Diop as the recipient of the first Mary Pickford Award.
Pickford's handprints and footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California
Early life and career
Chaplin was named after his father, a British music-hall entertainer. He spent his early childhood with his mother, the singer Hannah Hall, after she and his father separated, and he made his own stage debut at age five, filling in for his mother. The mentally unstable Hall was later confined to an asylum. Charlie and his half brother Sydney were sent to a series of bleak workhouses and residential schools.
Using his mother’s show-business contacts, Charlie became a professional entertainer in 1897 when he joined the Eight Lancashire Lads, a clog-dancing act. His subsequent stage credits include a small role in William Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes (1899) and a stint with the vaudeville act Casey’s Court Circus. In 1908 he joined the Fred Karno pantomime troupe, quickly rising to star status as The Drunk in the ensemble sketch A Night in an English Music Hall.
While touring America with the Karno company in 1913, Chaplin was signed to appear in Mack Sennett’s Keystone comedy films. Though his first Keystone one-reeler, Making a Living (1914), was not the failure that historians have claimed, Chaplin’s initial screen character, a mercenary dandy, did not show him to best advantage. Ordered by Sennett to come up with a more-workable screen image, Chaplin improvised an outfit consisting of a too-small coat, too-large pants, floppy shoes, and a battered derby. As a finishing touch, he pasted on a postage-stamp mustache and adopted a cane as an all-purpose prop. It was in his second Keystone film, Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914), that Chaplin’s immortal screen alter ego, “the Little Tramp,” was born.
In truth, Chaplin did not always portray a tramp in many of his films his character was employed as a waiter, store clerk, stagehand, fireman, and the like. His character might be better described as the quintessential misfit—shunned by polite society, unlucky in love, jack-of-all-trades but master of none. He was also a survivor, forever leaving past sorrows behind, jauntily shuffling off to new adventures. The Tramp’s appeal was universal: audiences loved his cheekiness, his deflation of pomposity, his casual savagery, his unexpected gallantry, and his resilience in the face of adversity. Some historians have traced the Tramp’s origins to Chaplin’s Dickensian childhood, while others have suggested that the character had its roots in the motto of Chaplin’s mentor, Fred Karno: “Keep it wistful, gentlemen, keep it wistful.” Whatever the case, within months after his movie debut, Chaplin was the screen’s biggest star.
His 35 Keystone comedies can be regarded as the Tramp’s gestation period, during which a caricature became a character. The films improved steadily once Chaplin became his own director. In 1915 he left Sennett to accept a $1,250-weekly contract at Essanay Studios. It was there that he began to inject elements of pathos into his comedy, notably in such shorts as The Tramp (1915) and Burlesque on Carmen (1915). He moved on to an even more lucrative job ($670,000 per year) at the Mutual Company Film Corporation. There, during an 18-month period, he made the 12 two-reelers that many regard as his finest films, among them such gems as One A.M. (1916), The Rink (1916), The Vagabond (1916), and Easy Street (1917). It was then, in 1917, that Chaplin found himself attacked for the first (though hardly the last) time by the press. He was criticized for not enlisting to fight in World War I. To aid the war effort, Chaplin raised funds for the troops via bond drives.
In 1918 Chaplin jumped studios again, accepting a $1 million offer from the First National Film Corporation for eight shorts. That same year he married 16-year-old film extra Mildred Harris—the first in a procession of child brides. For his new studio he made shorts such as Shoulder Arms (1918) and The Pilgrim (1923) and his first starring feature, The Kid (1921), which starred the irresistible Jackie Coogan as the kid befriended and aided by the Little Tramp. Some have suggested that the increased dramatic content of those films is symptomatic of Chaplin’s efforts to justify the praise lavished upon him by the critical intelligentsia. A painstaking perfectionist, he began spending more and more time on the preparation and production of each film. In his personal life too, Chaplin was particular. Having divorced Mildred in 1921, Chaplin married in 1924 16-year-old Lillita MacMurray, who shortly would become known to the world as film star Lita Grey. (They would be noisily divorced in 1927.)
Famous people in profile: Charlie Chaplin
On the 125th anniversary of Charlie Chaplin’s birth, Peter Ackroyd has written a new biography exploring the life of the cinema legend. Here, in an interview with History Extra, Ackroyd reveals the man behind the moustache, and explains why he continues to fascinate…
Q: What was Chaplin’s early life like?
A: He was born in London, and spent most of his childhood in Kennington. He was consigned to the workhouse, the poor house, and even the orphanage, because his mother – who suffered bouts of madness – could not cope with him.
As he grew older he went around the streets of England, taking up ‘odd jobs’. He had very little education, and effectively because a vagrant.
Q: How did he rise to fame?
A: He was employed by a group of clog dancers, ‘the eight Lancashire lads’. He toured with them at the age of 10, and soon became proficient. That was the beginning of his interest in theatre.
He went on to become a child actor, which proved to be a great chance for him to display his skills as a mimic and an entertainer.
He was then taken on by the Fred Karno travelling company as a juvenile act, and he became their key performer. With Karno he went to America, and while on his second tour was spotted by studio manager Mack Sennett [of the Keystone Film Company].
Chaplin was asked to join Keystone, and from there he went on to invent ‘the Tramp’. It’s not quite clear how he managed to create the costume. Some say he modeled it on the English poor, but others say he copied acts he had seen in music halls in 19th-century London.
It was a character to which he stuck, and which proved to be very popular. But he later decided to become a more ‘serious’ actor, which only made him more popular.
Q: While researching your book, have you discovered anything surprising about Chaplin?
A: He had a very bad temper, and was domineering. He was not a very nice person to be around – he was a moody individual.
Q: What inspired you to write a biography of Chaplin?
A: I was inspired because he is from London, and I have always written about London. I found his story to be in many respects inspiring – his energy, enthusiasm, indomitable will and refusal to give up on anything.