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Sketches of Canada for November 12th!

Canadian History for Kids: Mary Pickford

Known as “America’s Sweetheart,” “Little Mary” and “The girl with the curls,” Mary Pickford is one of the Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood and a significant figure in the development of film acting. She stars in the movie Tess of the Storm Country, released on November 12th, 1924. This Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of our Canada, looks at our the amazing career of Mary Pickford.

This Canadian History for Kids article begins when Mary Pickford was born Gladys Marie Smith in Toronto, Ontario. Her father, John Charles Smith, was the son of English Methodist immigrants, and worked a variety of odd jobs. Her mother, Charlotte Hennessy, was a seamstress, and took in boarders after her husband had abandoned the family

One of these lodgers was a theatrical stage manager, and at his suggestion, the seven-year-old Pickford was given two small roles, one of a boy and the other a girl, in a stock company production of The Silver King at Toronto’s Princess Theatre.

This Canadian History for Kids article continues when after touring in different shows and productions for more than nine years, she went to New York to conquer Broadway. Taking the stage name, Mary Pickford, she made her Broadway debut in The Warrens of Virginia.

Soon after the show’s run, Mary Pickford got into film, working for D. W. Griffith, a director and head of American Biography Company. At the time, most films were short and she appeared in more than 40 movies in 1909.

Pickford worked on such hits as Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917) and Poor Little Rich Girl (1917). Pickford also worked behind the scenes as a producer and founded the United Artists (UA), a film company, in 1919, with D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., who would become her second husband.

Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks married in 1920, becoming one of Hollywood’s earliest supercouples. Fans adored the pairing, and the couple were known to host fabulous events at their home, called Pickfair.

This Canadian History for Kids article continues in the 1920s when Mary Pickford continued to score more box-office hits with Polyanna (1920) and Little Lord Fauntleroy (1922). She went on to help establish the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1927. Her last film was 1933’s Secrets.

Towards the end of her life, Pickford made arrangements with the Department of Citizenship to regain her Canadian citizenship because she wished to “die as a Canadian”. Her request was approved and she became a dual Canadian-American citizen. he died in 1979.

And that’s this weeks Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of our Canada.

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