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Pickford: the Woman Who Made Hollywood Hardcover – 1 May 1998


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Stoddart Publishing,Canada (1 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1551990172
  • ISBN-13: 978-1551990170
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 16.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
"A spirit stronger than myself has always whipped me to action," Mary Pickford explained to a reporter at the age of almost forty. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ivanushka on 10 Aug. 2006
Format: Hardcover
I read the brilliant Scott Eyman biography of Mary Pickford a few years ago and doubted that any other biography could do as good a job of telling her life story. How wrong I was!

This book is a riveting, and ultimately heart breaking read. From Mary's Dickensian childhood as an overworked child actress fighting to keep her family together, through her rise to become the first global superstar of the 20th century and on to the advent of the talkies, the end of her career and her descent into reclusiveness and alcoholism, the pace never lets up. The reader is left with an image of a woman who was kind, courageous, stubborn, insecure and driven all her life by childhood demons that would ultimately overwhelm her.

A must read for anyone interested in the silent era. Give it a try. You will not be disappointed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Graceann Macleod on 4 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
This biography is comprehensive without being dry and "scholarly." It reads like a novel, and it is a surprisingly even-handed story, illuminating Mary Pickford's genius while showing us her less attractive traits. Time is spent on the alcoholism that was a prominent part of the last half of her life, and on her fights with family, including her three husbands, her two adopted children and the friendships she made, cultivated or broke along the way.

A good deal of time is also spent on how United Artists worked in its inception, why the founders thought that such a company was necessary and on the politics inside the company throughout its history. There is a Notes section that tells us where the anecdotes and quotes come from, and a tantalizing bibliography that I will end up using in search of other books on Miss Pickford and on silent film in general.

Buddy Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. were still around when this book was being researched and written, and they, along with numerous others, seem to have shared insights that help us understand the lady, and Fairbanks sheds some light on her complex and lasting love with his father - they continued to be very close up until his death. This may be one of the last things that Fairbanks and Rogers contributed to, and if this is how they would be remembered, its not a bad thing.

If you are interested not only in her films (which run far afield of just the "Little Mary" whom we all have heard about and seen), and for an interesting, highly readable overview of silent film in general, this biography is a must read. I am personally glad I bought it for myself, rather than borrowing it from the library (as I do with many books), because as I learn more about the era and see more of her films, I'm sure I'm going to want to go back to it again (probably more than once).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jw Mcconnell on 18 July 2005
Format: Paperback
First rate biography of a canadian woman went on to become the most famous women in the world and America's sweetheart.Charts her rise to stardom,her three marriages and her descent in alcoholism.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A brilliant book showing Mary Pickford was a ballsy lady who paved the way for other fighters like Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland against the ruthless studio moguls. Very well researched, and with some good photographs.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 24 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating Woman - Fascinating Book 2 Jan. 2002
By Graceann Macleod - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This biography is comprehensive without being dry and "scholarly." It reads like a novel, and it is a surprisingly even-handed biography, illuminating Miss Pickford's genius while showing us her not-so-attractive side. Time is spent on the alcoholism that was a prominent part of the last half of her life, and on her fights with family, including her three husbands, her two adopted children and the friendships she made, cultivated or broken along the way.
A good deal of time is also spent on how United Artists worked in its inception, why the founders thought that such a company was necessary and on the politics inside the company throughout its history. There is a Notes section that tells us where the anecdotes and quotes come from, and a tantalizing bibliography that I will end up using in search of other books on Miss Pickford and on silent film in general.
Buddy Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. were still around when this book was being researched and written, and they, along with numerous others, seem to have shared insights that help us understand the lady, and Fairbanks sheds some light on her complex and lasting love with his father - they continued to be very close up until his death. This may be one of the last things that Fairbanks and Rogers contributed to, and if this is how they would be remembered, its not a bad thing.
If you are interested not only in her films (which run far afield of just the "Little Mary" whom we all have heard about and seen), and for an interesting, highly readable overview of silent film in general, this biography is a must read. I am personally glad I bought it for myself, rather than borrowing it from the library (as I do with many books), because as I learn more about the era and see more of her films, I'm sure I'm going to want to go back to it again (probably more than once).
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Beyond the "Girl with the Curls" 20 Jan. 2005
By P Stockwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I must recommend this biography by Whitfield, who exhaustively researched Pickford's life and "milestones" in breathtaking scope and clarity. Pickford, like others in her field of the silent era, endured poverty, the threat of separation from her mother and siblings... and worked on stage from the age of five. Pickford's mindboggling success,was the combination of angelic charm, savvy business sense, and being at the right place at the right time.

Pickford was a legend in her own time. A woman so popular she became the first and only celebrity to achieve the title of :America's Sweetheart. In Whitfeild's writing is both well researched and choc-a block full of privite anecdotes throughout; from her Father's accidental death, to working with Belasco and D.W Griffith (secretly marrying Owen Moore at 17), and Zukor, to selling war bonds with Chaplin and Fairbanks (husband #2), creating United Artists (1919) and moving on after the invasion of the "talkies". Also explored are her rivals in the industry (especially Gloria Swanson...Sunset Boulevard would have been all the more poignant had Mary starred in it), and her public loves (Owen Moore, Douglas Fairbanks, and later Buddy Rogers). Most fascinating is Pickford's steadfast devotion to her mother Charlotte, and her unsuccessful attempts to help her brother Jack and sister Lottie, who, like Mary became alcoholics. Through the strength of Whitfields data regarding Pickford, we begin to understand Mary's life from the dual -dilemma of her love of her fame and public, to the hold her career had on every decision she made, and how she at times, was paralyzed, as the "most recognized woman in the world."

Mary became typecast as "Little Mary" and she turned out some of the best movies of her generation with "Stella Maris(1919)

" Daddy Long Legs(1919)" "Little Annie Rooney(1925)" "Suds(1920)" "My best Girl(1927)"

She had great difficulty "growing up" in her roles, (which were met with opposition by devoted fans), and using more mature characters and subjects...this is evident in Kiki (1932) one of her attempts to break from her "girl with the curls" image.

(She eventually cut her curls in 1928 after charlotte died, mirroring a symbolic (umbilical cord) , cutting her past away.

Mary was unequaled at the pinnacle of her career, but her intense celebrity status that had became a source of great adoration, was followed abruptly with detachment and pain as old hollywood moved into "Talkies", and the Iconography of Mary was later constantly compared to Shirley Temple in the Thirties. Mary stopped making pictures alltogether by 1933. This wonderful book charts the ups and downs of her unimaginable career, personal life, with recorded insights from those who knew her best. She was an astonishing woman, and Whitfield, though respectful, brings humor, wit and insight into the biography of America's most mystifying "sweetheart". A +
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
For Mary Pickford fans and students of the American cinema 9 Feb. 2001
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Mary Pickford was a key figure in American cinematic history. She became the first major silent-film actress and went on to become the first major female film executive as one of the founders of Untied Artists. Popular known in her acting heyday as "America's sweetheart", she enchanted moviegoers with her portraits of golden-haired princesses as well as her moving portrayals of sad-eyed waifs. Eileen Whitfield's Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood recreates Pickford's personal and professional life in vivid detail from her poverty-stricken childhood in turn-of-the-century Toronto, through her undisputed reign as mistress of Pickfair (the Beverly Hills estate where she and her actor husband Douglas Fairbanks entertained in the 1920s), to her sadly moving demise in 1979. Pickford is "must" reading for all Mary Pickford fans and students of the American cinema.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
fabulous 26 Aug. 1999
By Alonzo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Since this is one of the very best biographies of a movie actor this longtime film buff has ever read, I have to say I don't understand other readers' quibbles with it. The book isn't just beautifully written and well-researched, it's full of insights, perceptions and thoughts -- which most biographies are terribly short of. Silent movies and silent-movie acting are difficult subjects to discuss in fresh and provocative ways, and here Whitfield also triumphs. Her book is a great introduction to the early days of film and of film stardom too. But beware: this isn't a pop or trashy biography, and it isn't fanzine stuff either. This is literate, intelligent work -- think Arlene Croce or Simon Callow. Could that be what some readers are annoyed by?
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Absorbing biography, fascinating history 9 Mar. 2005
By NYmoviebuff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is two books for the price of one, really. It's a first-rate, meticulously researched biography of Mary Pickford, the first major movie star. But it's also an informative overview of the early days of U.S. film production, valuable for what it reports about D.W. Griffith and other notables as well as Pickford.
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