Mary Pickford

Mary Pickford is a poignant portrait of the world’s first international superstar. Pickford’s extraordinary career as the most popular silent screen actress of the day made her the most powerful woman in the history of movies and helped shape America’s obsessive culture of celebrity.

In the golden age of silent film, the world’s most celebrated actress was Mary Pickford. Known as “America’s Sweetheart,” she was famous for playing darling girls and feisty young women in wildly popular films seen around the globe. Her love affair with Hollywood’s leading man, Douglas Fairbanks, turned her into an icon of glamour and romance, the living image of the Hollywood dream. But Mary would learn, in the most painful way, that life at the top is precarious and fame is fickle. American Experience will present Mary Pickford, a 90-minute special that charts the rise and fall of the actress who became the most powerful woman in Hollywood.

Press Reviews

“She set the parameters for movie stardom, and she was the first to pay the price—and it’s a terrible price.”
—Scott Eyman, biographer


A film by Ambrica Productions, Inc. in association with American Experience.

Written and Directed by: Sue Williams
Produced by: Kathryn Dietz and Sue Williams
Narrator: Laura Linney
Editor: Howard Sharp
Cinematographer: Bestor Cram
Composer: Tom Philips
Executive Producer for Ambrica Productions: Judith Vecchione

Major funding for this program provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Additional funding was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.