Mary (Smith) Pickford
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Gladys Louise (Smith) Pickford (1892 - 1979)

Gladys Louise (Mary) Pickford formerly Smith aka Moore, Fairbanks, Rogers
Born in Toronto, York County, Ontario, Canadamap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 7 Jan 1911 (to 2 Mar 1920) in Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, United Statesmap
Wife of — married 28 Mar 1920 (to 1936) in Los Angeles, California, USAmap
Wife of — married 26 Jun 1937 (to 29 May 1979) in Los Angeles, California, USAmap
Died in Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, United States of Americamap
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Profile last modified | Created 10 Dec 2014
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Notables Project
Mary (Smith) Pickford is Notable.
Mary Pickford won the 1928/29 Academy Award for Best Actress
Mary Pickford was a Canadian-American motion picture actress, co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Known as "America's Sweetheart", "Little Mary" and the "girl with the curls", she was one of the Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood and a significant figure in the development of film acting. In consideration of her contributions to American cinema, the American Film Institute named Pickford 24th among the greatest female stars of all time.

Mary Pickford was born Gladys Louise Smith at 211 University Avenue, Toronto, Canada to John Smith and Charlotte Hennessey Smith. She had two younger siblings, John Charles, called "Jack" and Charlotte, called "Lottie", who would also become actors.[1][2][3][4][5]

Due to thrift, Gladys spent little time in school as a child. Her mother, Charlotte, having worked as a seamstress while separated from her husband, began taking in boarders after his death. One of these was a theatrical stage manager. At the manager's suggestion, Gladys (age 7) was given two small roles, one as a boy and the other as a girl, in a stock company production of The Silver King at Toronto's Princess Theatre. She subsequently acted in many melodramas with Toronto's Valentine Company, finally playing the major child role in their version of "The Silver King" and capping her short career with the starring role of Little Eva in their production of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Charlotte was moved into the role of stage manager for her children, which she remained in until her death in 1927.[5]

At the time of the 1901 Canada Census, Lottie, Gladys, Lottie, and John Smith were listed as living in Toronto, along with Lottie's sister, Lizzie Watson, and their mother, Kathleen Hennessy[6].

By the early 1900s, theatre had become a family enterprise. Mary finally landed a supporting role in a 1907 Broadway play, The Warrens of Virginia. David Belasco, the producer of the play, insisted that Gladys Smith assume the stage name Mary Pickford.[5]

Pickford said, "I played scrubwomen and secretaries and women of all nationalities ... I decided that if I could get into as many pictures as possible, I'd become known, and there would be a demand for my work." She appeared in 51 films in 1909 – almost one a week.[5]

By 1916, only Charlie Chaplin, who reportedly had a similarly spellbinding pull with critics and the audience, slightly surpassed Pickford's popularity. Each enjoyed a level of fame far exceeding that of other actors. Throughout the 1910s and 1920s, Pickford was believed to be the most famous woman in the world, or, as a silent-film journalist described her, "the best known woman who has ever lived, the woman who was known to more people and loved by more people than any other woman that has been in all history." The now-Pickfords were all living together in Los Angeles when the 1920 US Census was taken, Charlotte still the head of the household, with her two actress daughters and one granddaughter.[7]

Mary married first Eugene Moore in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1911. They were married 10 years, then divorced amid some controversey, which involved how she immediately married Douglas Fairbanks as soon as her divorce from Moore was final. They were deemed the "All-American Couple" and loved by fans around the world. They co-starred only once, in "The Taming of the Shrew." Douglas fell in love with Lady Sylvia Hawkes Ashley, and the Pickford-Fairbanks marriage was over.[8][9][10][11][5]

Mary was married last to Charles Rogers, 11 years her junior, from 1937 to her death. The couple adopted two children, Ronald and Roxanne.[2][12][3][13][5]

In 1930, Mary Pickford was awarded the Best Actress Oscar during the 2nd Academy Awards ceremony. Her 194th and last film, "Secrets" was released in 1932, after which she retired. She knew much of her success was built on her youth, so she decided to leave the business before the business left her.[5]

Mary's retired life was an odd one as chatelaine of her Beverly Hills estate, Pickfair, shared with her husband, Charles. From 1965 until her death, she spent most of her time in bed, subsisting on nearly a quart of whisky a day, accompanied by light meals.[5]

Mary died of a stroke on May 29, 1979 in Santa Monica, California. She is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.[14][5]


  1. "Ontario Births and Baptisms, 1779-1899", database, FamilySearch ( : 13 February 2020), Gladys Louise Smith, .
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Brasil, Cartões de Imigração, 1900-1965," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 May 2019), null, Immigration; citing 1954, Arquivo Nacional, Rio de Janeiro (National Archives, Rio de Janeiro).
  3. 3.0 3.1 "California, County Marriages, 1850-1952," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 December 2017), Charles B Rogers and Mary Pickford, 26 Jun 1937; citing Los Angeles, California, United States, county courthouses, California; FHL microfilm 2,114,024.
  4. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2007. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 1250; Volume #: Roll 1250 - Certificates: 50250-50625, 09 Jun 1920-10 Jun 1920 Ancestry Record 1174 #943975
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 "Mary Pickford Is Dead at 86; ‘America's Sweetheart’ of Films", New York Times, 30 May 1979. Accessed via
  6. Census of Canada, 1901, Ontario, Toronto West (City) (118), Ward 4 (B), page 15, dwelling 116, family 120, Gladys Smith; RG31 - Statistics Canada, roll T-6499 ( : Accessed January 5, 2019). Ancestry Record 8826 #8956002
  7. "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 9 September 2019), California > Los Angeles > Los Angeles Assembly District 63 > ED 184 > image 23 of 24; citing NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  8. The Perfect Pickford Family - The Film Colony with Alicia Mayer - accessed 05Jan2019
  9. "California, San Diego, Airplane Passenger and Crew Lists, 1929-1954," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 18 March 2018), Mary Pickford Fairbanks, 1929; citing Immigration, 1929, Aircraft license number Maddux Plane 7118, NARA microfilm publication A3472 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2008).
  10. "California, San Diego, Airplane Passenger and Crew Lists, 1929-1954," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 18 March 2018), Mary Pickford Fairbanks, 1929; citing Immigration, 1929, Aircraft license number Maddux Plane 7118, NARA microfilm publication A3472 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2008).
  11. "Film Stars Accused In Nevade Suit", Muncie Evening Press, Muncie, Indiana, 16 Apr 1920. Accessed via
  12. "New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 15 March 2018), Mary Rogers Or Pickford, 1950; citing Immigration, New York City, New York, United States, NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  13. "Will Costar In Marriage', Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, California, 19 Jun 1937, page 1. Accessed via
  14. Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 06 April 2020), memorial page for Mary Pickford (8 Apr 1892–29 May 1979), Find A Grave: Memorial #813, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .

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