Mary Pickford De Meyer, Baron Adolf  (American, 1868-1946)

De Meyer photographed Mary Pickford for Vogue in 1920.

In 1909, the young stage actress Mary Pickford was having difficulty finding work in the New York theater, and although she considered it a professional step down to do so, she decided to investigate acting jobs with silent filmmaker D.W. Griffith. Griffith told her, "You’re too little and too fat" but hired her anyway, and so began the rise of the silent screen’s first major female star. Playing the exquisitely frail but spunky heroine in one melodrama after another, Pickford ultimately found herself hailed as "America’s Sweetheart." By 1916 she was earning ten thousand dollars a week, and for many years after, she remained one of the movie industry’s top box-office draws. The Pickford mystique took a sudden spike upward in 1920 when she married fellow screen idol Douglas Fairbanks. Together they became Hollywood’s reigning royal couple.

Reproduced / Exhibited

De Meyer, Adolf, Anne Ehrenkranz, John Szarkowski, and Willis Hartshorn. A Singular Elegance: The Photographs of Baron Adolph De Meyer. San Francisco: Chronicre Books in association with International Centre of Photography, 1995 p. 101

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Vogue, February 1, 1920.