Day 31 of Colourisation Project – June 7
Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.
On this day in 1909, Mary Pickford made her screen debut at the age of 16 in Two Memories under director D.W. Griffith. Born Gladys Louise Smith in 1892 in Toronto, Pickford was a Canadian-American motion picture actress. Known as “the girl with the golden curls,” she was a pioneer of early cinema and a major contributor to the development of film acting. In 1919 along with Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks (who went on to become her husband) she co-founded the film studio, United Artists.
She began in films in 1909 and in that year appeared in 51 films – almost one a week. By the age of 24, she was earning more than a million dollars per year. A talented actress who took her craft seriously, she was also one of the original 36 founders of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She was arguably the silent era’s most famous female star, recognized by audiences before credits were even thought of in the movies. She had a solid grasp of the business end of making movies and became the first movie actress to receive a percentage of a film’s earnings.
Mary Pickford was a major player in shaping the film industry that we know today. She was a founder of the Society of Independent Motion Picture Producers in 1941.
Often referred to as “Hollywood royalty” she and her husband, Douglas Fairbanks were the first to officially place hand and footprints in the cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in 1927. After her final film as an actress, Secrets, was released in 1933, Pickford retired from the screen but continued to produce. In 1950 she turned down the role of Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd.
Pickford who was an Oscar winner for best actress in Coquette (1929), received an Academy Honorary Award for a lifetime of achievements in 1976.
Pickford became reclusive in her later years and passed away in 1979.
Today’s photo taken in 1916 shows Mary Pickford with an early motion picture camera.