Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Christel Schmidt talks about Mary Pickford, cinema's first great star, along with Ben Model, piano accompanist. Schmidt is editor of Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies, a collection of essays by film historians that sheds new light on this icon's incredible life and legacy. Pickford is revealed as a gifted actress, a philanthropist, and a savvy industry leader who fought for creative control of her films and ultimately became her own producer.


Ben Model and Christel Schmidt

Comments [4]

E. Summer from New York, NY

Thank you for your response.

While there's no doubt that Mary Pickford eclipsed the fame of Florence Lawrence, there's also no doubt that Ms. Lawrence WAS the first. She was the first actress to have her name on screen as being the STAR of the film. Pickford had more acting chops and business acumen than Lawrence without question and achieved a higher level of fame. But before Lawrence, performers were not credited on-screen at all! Pickford would not have existed as a "star" had it not been for Lawrence.
Today, Lawrence's films seem very dated, unlike Pickford's which, in many ways, have withstood the test of time.
If you argument is that Pickford was a "greater star" than Lawrence, you're clearly correct. However, if you're arguing that Pickford was the historic "first star," you're incorrect. The demand for Lawrence's films in her day was extraordinary and incontrovertible. She's just been lost to history.

May. 11 2013 02:59 PM
Christel Schmidt

E. Summer actually Florence Lawrence had her name in print first but no one would really call her a MOVIE STAR in the way that Pickford was. She certainly had fame. Pickford was in a league of her own compared to all of the those early "stars" of the one reelers.

Apr. 30 2013 05:07 PM

$10K per week, is roughly equivalent to $35M/yr in today's economy. Sheesh!

Apr. 30 2013 01:21 PM
E. Summer from NYC

Florence Lawrence was the first movie star, not Mary Pickford. No offense to Pickford who was wonderful, but the ads you're running about her being the first movie star are not correct.

Apr. 30 2013 11:17 AM

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