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#QueerQuote: “Talking Pictures Are Like Putting Lip Rouge on the Venus de Milo.” – Mary Pickford

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The First Female Movie Mogul. Fashion Icon. The biggest star in showbiz. In 1919, Pickford, with D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks, formed the independent film production company, United Artists. Through UA, Pickford was able to produce and perform in her own films; she could also distribute them as she chose. In 1910-1920, she was making a million dollars a year, that’s $18 million in 2018 dollars. But, she still wasn’t allowed to vote!

Her first film was in 1909 and her final movie was in 1949. In 1916 alone, she made 50 films!

She was the second female to win an Oscar. Pickford appeared in over 250 film credits spanning from the inception of the art form through the introduction of talking pictures. Pickford controlled and shaped her own image by negotiating a producer’s contract in 1916 that gave her story and hiring rights over all of her pictures. She worked out of her co-owned Pickford-Fairbanks Studio, now known as The Lot in Hollywood, and employed a bevy of female support including the highest paid screenwriter of the time, Frances Marion.

Pickford was one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

With Fairbanks, photograph public domain

She invented the podcast, when in 1928, a broadcast from Pickford’s bungalow, featuring her husband Douglas Fairbanks, Chaplin, Norma Talmadge, Gloria Swanson, John Barrymore, and Dolores del Rio, speaking on her radio show to prove that they could meet the challenge of making talking pictures.

 


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