I fucking love whoever did this.
Okay, I was going to limit myself to tags, but let me tell ya’ll who don’t know about Mary Pickford: she was the biggest film star in America (and possibly the world) during the silent era — the BIGGEST, not the the biggest female star or the biggest comedy star or whatever. And that was *before* she got married to Douglas Fairbanks and they became the first supercouple. Photoplay— a popular fan-oriented publication and distant predecessor of Us magazine, for context — named her their number one star for fifteen years running, which is a level of celebrity that I don’t think we’ll ever see again. Most people have not heard of her today because she owned the rights to basically all her films and did not allow them to be shown until after her death in 1979 - which sucks, but hey, she had the power to do that.
She was an astute businesswoman and was known for her contract negotiation, starting at age 17 when she got D.W. Griffith to pay her twice the going rate for her work. Pickford produced her own movies starting in 1916 (at age 24!), and since she was passionate about understanding everything from scriptwriting to makeup to cinematography, she got shit done and did it well. Along with Fairbanks, Griffith, and Charlie Chaplin, Pickford later co-founded United Artists, the only independent film studio at the time - which was a huge thing in that era, when studios had vertically integrated film production and distribution, putting a stranglehold on everything from creative control through theater booking.
Pickford was also important for her acting, which helped revolutionize the shift from the highly gestural and codified style inherited from stage melodrama into a more natural style suited to (and encouraging) film’s increasing sophistication and visual range. She had a wide acting range — she could play comedy, drama, tragedy, action, historical and modern roles; she was a highly skilled mimic, and more than once played multiple roles in the same movie. And despite being a sharp, aggressive businesswoman, she was widely beloved by her peers and co-workers for being generous, kind, and socially conscious. (Although she also had quite a temper: late in life, after years of separation from old friend Charlie Chaplin, her stepson tried to suggest that Chaplin was willing to mend fences. Her response? “I don’t care. He’s still a son of a bitch.”)
Basically, she was amazing, and people should know about her. Anonymous graffiti writer, I salute you.
Mary Pickford is one of the many women erased from early film history, like writer Frances Marion.