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Lottie Pickford

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Lottie

Lottie Pickford (June 9, 1895December 9, 1936) was a silent film actress, socialite, and sister to Mary Pickford and Jack Pickford. Her career is often overshadowed by that of her siblings and though was a noteable figure in the 1920s her films and role in the Pickford acting family is now largely forgotten.

Early yearsEdit

Pickford was born Charlotte Smith, to John Charles Smith and Charlotte Hennessy. Pickford was named for her mother.[1] She was the middle child, born 3 years after her sister Mary Pickford and a year before her brother Jack Pickford. She quickly became her father's favorite, much to her sister's annoyance.[2] After mistakenly believing she was a boy when first born her father lovingly gave her the boyish nickname, 'Chuckie'.[3]

As a child she caught typhoid fever, though she wasn't as sickly as Mary was.[4] Pickford's father left the family while she was young and Mary took over the father figure role. This caused Jack and Lottie to become extremely close, banding together against their sister who they seen as strict.[5] Pickford idolized her brother Jack, and they remained close throughout their lifetimes.[6] However despite the tense relationship with Mary she was protective of her, once jumping on D.W. Griffith to defend her sister during a tense argument with the director.[7]

In need of extra income the family began to act. On Janurary 8th, 1900 Pickford and Mary began acting in The Silver King. Pickford was either offered a lesser sum than her sister or was part of a packaged deal.[8]

The family eventually moved to New York City where they all acted in various productions, sometimes together, sometimes not. At one point Pickford and Mary had to travel on their own for one production.[9]

Of the family Mary was the breakout star, and her family members were usually attached to her as a contractual stipulation.[10] [11] This continued when Mary began in films; eventually getting her siblings on the payroll.[12]

Film CareerEdit

In 1907 Mary adopted the stage name 'Mary Pickford' (her birth name was Gladys Louise Smith). The rest of the family adopted the Pickford name by their time in film. Mary signed with D.W. Griffith's Biograph Company in 1909 which helped to stabalize the family. She was also able to get her family on the payroll. Between 1909 and 1910 Mary made 80 shorts. Jack made 28 while Lottie only made 25.[13] Of her siblings Pickford's talents were considered the weakest. Linda Ardvison said Mary had decided her sister was not pretty enough for films, and had done her best to keep her away from Biograph.[14] However the Pickford family had always worked together, and Lottie was on the payroll. She often hung around sets, grabbed an odd role here or there, and would understudy for Mary.[15]

When the Biograph Company departed for California, Pickford and her mother were left behind. She would eventually join her sister in California. As Mary became a bigger star Pickford's employment was a condition of her contracts.[16]

Away from her sister Pickford's first starring role came in 1914 in "The House of Bondage". It was a vice film, with Pickford playing a prostitute. This greatly contrasted her sister's role as 'America's Sweetheart'. The film did not recieve good reviews, being considered too crude.[17] Pickford then made, "Fanchon, The Cricket" in 1915. It is the only film in which all 3 Pickford siblings appear, and was thought lost until rediscovered in the British Film Institute by a fan.[18]

Pickford then starred in "The Diamond from the Sky" serial, though it was more humilation for her; she was only given the role after Mary turned it down.[19] A Photoplay article from around the time of the release declared her, "Pickford The Second!" and compared her to her sister, albeit as a worthy sequel.[20] However the serial was jeopardized when she became pregnant with her husband. This incident put her on the unofficial Hollywood blacklist for a short time.[21] Pickford only performed in 5 roles between 1915 and 1918, when she took a break from acting most likely due to personal problems.

After her divorce she took a starring role in 1921's "They Shall Pay" which co-starred her future husband Allan Forrest. Pickford again took several years off of acting only to return in a minor role in her sister's 1924 film "Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall". She billed herself as Lottie Pickford Forrest.[22] Her final role would be in her brother in law Douglas Fairbanks Sr.'s "Don Q Son of Zorro" in 1925. During her career Pickford only starred in 8 features while her brother starred in over 40 features.[23]

Later Life and DeathEdit

According to her daughter Pickford had once wanted to start a children's radio show. However Mary shot her down saying "One Pickford on the radio at a time is enough!" According to her daughter it broke Pickford's heart.[24]

The last time Pickford saw Mary they were playing a Christian hymn, "Oh Jesus when I'm sad and lonely" on the piano. Pickford bet her sister a $1 she couldn't listen to it without crying. The girls apparently had a religious conversation, as by this point in life Pickford had taken a religious turn.[25]

On December 9, 1936 Pickford suddenly fell ill and collapsed on the floor. She had suffered a heart attack and died. Most likely the years of partying and alcohol abuse had taken there toll. Pickford is buried at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in the family plot.[26]

Personal LifeEdit

Pickford was a socialite and partying was her first love. She would party all night, where drugs and alchohol were plentiful as was nudity. Pickford's maid recalled when they heard Mary's car pulling in that Pickford and her friends would, "Jump into their knickers!"[27] Pickford's parties were legendary as was her reputation as a party girl.

Despite her faults Pickford was known to be down to earth, friendly, sweet, and unpretentious.[28]

MarriagesEdit

In 1915 before the release of "The Diamond from the Sky" Pickford had quietly married a New York broker named Alfred Rupp on an unknown date.[29] The couple had a daughter Mary Pickford Rupp (who would be later renamed Gwynne Rupp) in 1915.[30] By 1919 the couple no longer lived together and by 1920 they had divorced.[31]

For unknown reasons Pickford gave her mother custody of her daughter, who was then renamed Gwynne in 1920. Pickford did not comment to the press on the matter, other then to say she would never marry again.[32] It is likely by this time Pickford had become an alcoholic (alchoholisim ran in the Pickford family) as well as a drug user, possibly prompting her mother to take custody of her daughter.[33] Gwynne remained with Charlotte until Charlotte's death, at which time Mary took custody of her until Gwynne married Hugh Ernst at age 24 (months after her mother's death) and left Pickfair in 1939.[34]

Pickford married actor Allan Forrest in 1922. She performed her two final screen roles during this time under the name Lottie Pickford Forrest. The pair divorced in 1928. On August 5th, 1929 she married Russel O. Gillard, an undertaker from Los Angeles.[35] In the wedding announcement Pickford was referred to as, "Lotta Rupp".[36] She sued him for divorce in 1933 claiming she had tried to fund business for him but he had failed because of negilgence and he had not wanted to work. The judge granted the divorce.[37] Pickford then announced she had married a Pittsburgh society man named John William Lock. This would make her legally a bigamist and possibly cause her to be arrested.[38] However Pickford just giggled at the thought, doubting anything would be done.[39]

FamilyEdit

Pickford was always extremely close with her brother. When he died in 1933 Mary said of her, "Poor Chuckie...she was never quite the same after Jack's going...it was as though with my brother's passing the better part of her had died too".[40] Pickford's relationship with her sister was strained at best. In Mary's biography she defended Jack and constantly praised him, while never doing so for Pickford.[41] It seems Pickford resented her sister, once asking her, "Mary, how does it feel to be able to give Mama everything her heart desired, and all the same and honor besides?"[42]

Alternative NamesEdit

Throughout her career Pickford occasionally used different names

  • Charlotte Smith
  • Lottie Pickford Forrest
  • Lottie Pickford Rupp
  • Lotta Rupp

FilmographyEdit

  • To Save Her Soul (1909)
  • The Test (1909)
  • The Red Man's View (1909)
  • Through the Breakers (1909)
  • In the Window Recess (1909)
  • The Light That Came (1909)
  • What's Your Hurry? (1909)
  • His Lost Love (1909)
  • The Broken Locket (1909)
  • Getting Even (1909)
  • The Hessian Renegades (1909)
  • The Little Darling (1909)
  • The Indian Runner's Romance (1909)
  • The Better Way (1909)
  • A Strange Meeting (1909)
  • The Slave (1909)
  • Tender Hearts (1909)
  • The Cardinal's Conspiracy (1909)
  • The Necklace (1909)
  • The Faded Lilies (1909)
  • Two Memories (1909)
  • White Roses (1910)
  • His Sister-In-Law (1910)
  • The Golden Supper (1910)
  • Happy Jack, a Hero (1910)
  • A Child's Stratagem (1910)
  • A Plain Song (1910)
  • Simple Charity (1910)
  • Two Little Waifs (1910)
  • The Broken Doll (1910)
  • A Gold Necklace (1910)
  • Examination Day at School (1910)
  • The Oath and the Man (1910)
  • A Summer Idyll (1910)
  • The Affair of an Egg (1910)
  • Unexpected Help (1910)
  • The Call to Arms (1910)
  • Serious Sixteen (1910)
  • A Victim of Jealousy (1910)
  • A Knot in the Plot (1910)
  • The Tenderfoot's Triumph (1910)
  • The Smoker (1910)
  • The Newlyweds (1910)
  • The Woman from Mellon's (1910)
  • Little Red Riding Hood (1911)
  • Love at Gloucester Port (1911)
  • The Courting of Mary (1911)
  • Who's Who (1911)
  • The Toss of a Coin (1911)
  • Sweet Memories (1911)
  • Three Sisters (1911)
  • A Wreath of Orange Blossoms
  • Fate's Turning (1911)
  • His Trust (1911)
  • Help Wanted (1911)
  • The Midnight Marauder (1911)
  • The Italian Barber (1911)
  • The Two Paths (1911)
  • A Child's Remorse (1912)
  • Love's Diary (1912)
  • Lena and the Geese (1912)
  • The Girl Strikers (1912)
  • Into the Jungle (1912)
  • A Beast at Bay (1912)
  • The Pilgrimage (1912)
  • A Mardi Gras Mix-Up (1912)
  • The Belle of New Orleans (1912)
  • Love Finds the Way (1912)
  • For Old Time's Sake (1913)
  • When a Girl Loves (1913)
  • The House of Bondage (1914)
  • The Diamond from the Sky (1915)
  • Fanchon, the Cricket (1915)
  • Curly (1915)
  • The Reward of Patience (1916)
  • On the Level (1917)
  • Mile-a-Minute Kendall (1918)
  • The Man from Funeral Range (1918)
  • They Shall Pay (1921)
  • Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall (1924)
  • Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925)

ReferencesEdit

  1. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood". page 8
  2. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 14
  3. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 14
  4. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 17
  5. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 18
  6. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 42
  7. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 95-96
  8. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 22
  9. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 42
  10. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 42
  11. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 62
  12. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 82
  13. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 89
  14. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 89
  15. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 89
  16. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 110
  17. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 171
  18. http://www.silentsaregolden.com/articles/lostfilmsarticle.html
  19. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 171
  20. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 171
  21. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 172
  22. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 240
  23. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 305
  24. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 305
  25. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 305
  26. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 305-307
  27. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 172
  28. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 222
  29. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 172
  30. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 172
  31. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 188
  32. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 222
  33. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 222
  34. http://www.glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com/show/546/Lyda+Roberti/index.html
  35. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,737652,00.html?iid=chix-sphere
  36. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,737652,00.html?iid=chix-sphere
  37. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 304
  38. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 304
  39. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 304-305
  40. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 304
  41. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 305
  42. Whitfield, Eileen. "Pickford, the woman who made Hollywood" page 305

External linksEdit

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