Mary Pickford

image for Mary Pickford
Exhibition Label
In 1909, the young stage actress Mary Pickford was having difficulty finding work in the New York theater, and although she considered it a professional step down to do so, she decided to investigate acting jobs with silent filmmaker D.W. Griffith. Griffith told her, "You're too little and too fat" but hired her anyway, and so began the rise of the silent screen's first major female star. Playing the exquisitely frail but spunky heroine in one melodrama after another, Pickford ultimately found herself hailed as "America's Sweetheart." By 1916 she was earning ten thousand dollars a week, and for many years after, she remained one of the movie industry's top box-office draws. The Pickford mystique took a sudden spike upward in 1920 when she married fellow screen idol Douglas Fairbanks. Together they became Hollywood's reigning royal couple.
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© Estate of Ernest DeMeyer, Represented by Sotherby's New York
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Object number
Baron Adolph de Meyer, 1 Sep 1868 - 6 Jan 1946
Mary Pickford, 8 Apr 1892 - 29 May 1979
Nature & Environment\Plant\Flower
Mary Pickford: Female
Mary Pickford: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Theater
Mary Pickford: Performing Arts\Producer\Motion Pictures
Mary Pickford: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Movie
Mary Pickford: Oscar
Gelatin silver print
Image/Sheet: 23.2 x 18.2cm (9 1/8 x 7 3/16")
Mat: 55.9 x 40.6cm (22 x 16")
National Portrait Gallery