On This Day … 29 May [2022]


People (Deaths)

  • 1979 – Mary Pickford, Canadian-American actress, producer, and screenwriter, co-founder of United Artists (b. 1892).

Mary Pickford

Gladys Marie Smith (08 April 1892 to 29 May 1979), known professionally as Mary Pickford, was a Canadian-American film actress and producer with a career that spanned five decades.

A pioneer in the American film industry, she co-founded Pickford–Fairbanks Studios and United Artists, and was one of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Pickford is considered to be one of the most recognisable women in history.

Cited as “America’s Sweetheart” during the silent film era, and the “girl with the curls”, she was one of the Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood and a significant figure in the development of film acting. She was one of the earliest stars to be billed under her own name, and was one of the most popular actresses of the 1910s and 1920s, earning the nickname “Queen of the Movies”. She is credited with having defined the ingénue type in cinema.

She was awarded the second Academy Award for Best Actress for her first sound film role in Coquette (1929). By the late 1920s Pickford’s career went into decline. She received an Academy Honorary Award in 1976 in consideration of her contributions to American cinema.

United Artists

United Artists Corporation (UA), currently doing business as United Artists Digital Studios, is an American digital production company. Founded in 1919 by D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks, the studio was premised on allowing actors to control their own interests, rather than being dependent upon commercial studios. UA was repeatedly bought, sold, and restructured over the ensuing century. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer acquired the studio in 1981 for a reported $350 million ($1 billion today).

On 22 September 2014, MGM acquired a controlling interest in entertainment companies One Three Media and Lightworkers Media, then merged them to revive United Artists’ television production unit as United Artists Media Group (UAMG). However, on 14 December of the following year, MGM wholly acquired UAMG and folded it into MGM Television.

United Artists was again revived in 2018 as United Artists Digital Studios. Mirror, the joint distribution venture between MGM and Annapurna Pictures, was subsequently rebranded as United Artists Releasing in early February 2019, in honour of its 100th anniversary.

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