CBC Digital Archives

Film actress Mary Pickford looks back on her career in 1959

They are some of the brightest stars in old Hollywood, leading ladies who lit up the silver screen with their beauty, wit and talent. From Canada's Mary Pickford, the biggest star of the 1920s, to 1960s favourite Audrey Hepburn, CBC Digital Archives presents interviews with the best-loved actresses of the golden age of movies.

To her audiences, Mary Pickford is best known as America's Sweetheart -- the endearing movie star with an expressive face and dramatic gestures. Canadians know her, however, as Gladys Louise Smith, the starlet who was born on April 8, 1892, in Toronto. In part one of this CBC Radio interview, Pickford discusses her love of Toronto and her ambitious ascent into silent movie celebrity.

Listen to Part 2 of Mary Pickford's interview.

• By 1917, Pickford earned approximately $350,000 per film.
• "I was terribly ambitious you see, I was the father of the family. I wanted security for my people." -- Mary Pickford.

• Mary Pickford won a Best Actress Oscar for Coquette in 1929 and was the recipient of an honorary Oscar in 1976. She starred in four talking films before her retirement. Pickford's last film, Secrets, was released in 1933.

• Mary Pickford married fellow silent-film star Douglas Fairbanks in 1920. Pickford and Fairbanks combined their names to create the title of their sprawling 38-room Hollywood estate "Pickfair." They lived their lives in the public spotlight before their divorce in 1936. In 1937, she married actor Charlie Buddy Rogers.

• In 1951, Mary Pickford sold her shares in the United Artists company. Her films, to which she owned most of the rights, were deposited in the vaults of the Mary Pickford Foundation and the Library of Congress.
• Mary Pickford died on May 29, 1979.
• A star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto was dedicated to Pickford in May 1999.

Also on April 8:
1915: Ontario creates a board to handle liquor distribution. In 1927 it is named the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
1946: The League of Nations assembles in Geneva for the last time before being replaced by the United Nations.
1963: The Liberals form a minority government under Lester Pearson. The Liberals promise to begin their term with "60 Days of Decision" by taking quick action on a number of pieces of legislation.
Medium: Radio
Program: CBC Radio News Special
Broadcast Date: May 25, 1959
Guest(s): Mary Pickford
Host: Tony Thomas
Duration: 21:48
Photo: National Archives of Canada PA-185967, Alfred Cheney Johnston

Last updated: March 3, 2014

Page consulted on March 3, 2014

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