I am a big fan of Google Doodle. The search giant’s doodle always impresses me. This is not because of the sketch of the doodle, but of the subject itself. It keeps tab on important personalities and reminds people about them and about their achievement.
Merely a fortnight or so ago, the search giant had put an impressive doodle of the ‘father of the skyscrapers’, Fazlur Rahman Khan, an Indian/Bangladeshi/American engineer who designed and constructed the most iconic buildings in United States and other countries. Death snatched away the most talented structural designer of our times very early, otherwise he would have completely changed the way the world constructs buildings.
Now the search giant’s doodle highlights Mary Pickford, one of the pioneering women of Hollywood. To be true, she was the first Hollywood actress who was known by her name. Known as “America’s sweetheart” she was born in late nineteenth century, on April 8, 1892 to be precise.
There is no denying that not many people would have remembered her today, had it not been for the ubiquitous Google Doodle. At a time when women had no importance in the American society, they were merely a commodity, she had her own powerful presence, even to the extent of intimidating many men.
She started in movies rather very young. At the age of 18, she gave her first on-stage performance at a Toronto theater in January 1900. The act gave her so much fame and acceptance among the public that the nineteen year old girl started touring Canada and the United States performing in plays. It must be added here that her family was a regular fixture wherever she went.
Her onstage performances made her a well-known name at a time when mass media was in its very nascent stage. It is said that in the year 1907, she adopted the stage name Mary Pickford and the same year she gave her first Broadway performance. She became a regular fixture with the play called The Warrens of Virginia. The play closed in 1909 and this opened a new market for her, the moving pictures industry.
In the year 1909, she made as many as 40 films. It is needless to say that films those days were very short and she was paid a pittance, $10 for her act per day.
Later she moved to Hollywood, when it was at a very nascent stage and by 1914, Pickford’s name was not only known, but received top billing on theater marquees. On the day Pickford started working for the Biograph Company in 1909, she also met the man who would become her first husband, fellow Biograph actor Owen Moore. The two got married in 1911 without approval from her family who thoroughly disliked him and was a down drunkard and womanizer. She later got divorce from him despite huge stigma attached to it and fell in love with Douglas Fairbanks who was also married. Douglas Fairbanks’ wife Beth filed for divorce in 1918 on grounds of infidelity and later the two got married. They lived together for more than one and half decade before she filed for divorce in 1936 as she was smitten by another man, Charles Rogers. They got married soon and were inseparable till she breathed her last in 1979.