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Mary Pickford (April 8, 1892 – May 29, 1979)

Known as “America’s Sweetheart,” Gladys Louise Smith (known as Mary Pickford) was actually Canadian (born in Toronto). Pickford was a star of silent films and a founder of United Artists. She starred in 40 movies for D.W. Griffith’s American Biograph company. She retired from acting in 1933 to focus on production.

Pickford’s first marriage was to Irish silent movie actor Owen Moore in 1911. She divorced him (March 2, 1920) to be with Douglas Fairbanks Sr. on March 28, 1920. She and Fairbanks were one of Hollywood’s earliest supercouples. (They named their home Pickfair.) In 1927, Pickford helped to establish the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her first movie talkie was Coquette in 1929. She won an Oscar for this role. Pickford’s final film was Secrets (1933). She and Fairbanks divorced on January 10, 1936.

She married band leader Charles “Buddy” Rogers on June 24, 1937. They stayed together until her death and adopted two children. After her retirement and the divorce from Fairbanks, Pickford fell into a depression and began to consume more alcohol. The relationship with her children was always best described as “turbulent.” In her final years, she became reclusive and died on May 29, 1979 from complications from a cerebral hemorrhage which she had suffered the previous week.

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