The first actress to be called "America's Sweetheart," silent screen star Mary Pickford (1893-1979) was born Gladys Marie Smith on this day in Toronto, Canada.
Following the death of her father, she began acting on stage at age five as "Baby Gladys" to support her family.
"It would have been more logical if silent pictures had grown out of the talkies instead of the other way around," said the golden-haired actress.
As D.W. Griffith's shining star, Pickford gained international fame with her child-woman beauty and passionate screen presence. She won an Academy Award for her first talkie Coquette (1929).
"Make them laugh, make them cry, and back to laughter," Pickford advised. "What do people go to the theater for? An emotional exercise... I am a servant of the people. I have never forgotten that."
She invented the close-up, encouraging the cameraman to forget about her feet and come close to her face, at the time an unheard of request. She also vowed never to overact, a revolutionary idea at the time since early films used the elaborate gestures of the French school of pantomime.
Married to Douglas Fairbanks, the popular screen star was also a successful businesswoman, amassing a fortune and building a film studio, United Artists in 1919 with Charlie Chaplin, Fairbanks, and Griffith, to control the quality of her productions.
She insisted upon (and received) creative and veto power over her scripts. She chose her co-stars and directors.
"When you make a mistake, don't look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind, and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power," she said.
Keep trying. Don't give up.