Thursday, July 16, 2009

Read More About a Movie Legend

She was Hollywood's first movie star and the first actress to become an international superstar. One of the leading forces of the film industry in her era, she was the highest paid actress in Hollywood, and the first to have complete control in the production of her films. Her name was Mary Pickford (1892-1979) and this year marks the centennial anniversary of film's pioneering icon. She burst upon the silver screen in a number of 1909 "flickers" and was an immediate hit.

As "America's Sweetheart," Mary Pickford dazzled audiences with the depth of her emotional range, playing comedic and tragic roles with equal brilliance. As the only woman to ever own a major Hollywood studio, Pickford had the fierce business acumen of the wiliest movie mogul. Along with her business partners Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and D.W. Griffith, she founded United Artists studios and produced a string of major hits. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Mary's film career never faltered when silent films gave way to the talkies. In 1929, Pickford won the first Academy Award for an actress in a talkie for Coquette.

If you'd like to read more about this amazing Hollywood legend, the library has many biographies to choose from, including Pickford: the Woman Who Made Hollywood by Eileen Whitfield and Kevin Brownlow's Mary Pickford Rediscovered: Rare Pictures of a Hollywood Legend.

Cari Beauchamp's award-winning biography, Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood, captures an exciting, and often neglected chapter in movie history. It was a time when strong women like Pickford and screenwriter Frances Marion collaborated to produce some of filmdom's first megahits.
Be sure to check the library's DVD holdings for documentaries about this remarkable woman.

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