Lottie Pickford

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Lottie Pickford
Lottie Pickford.jpg
Born Charlotte Smith
(1893-06-09)June 9, 1893
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died December 9, 1936(1936-12-09) (aged 43)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Heart attack
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale
Other names Lottie Pickford Forrest
Occupation Actress
Years active 1909–1925
Spouse(s) Alfred Rupp (m. 1915–20)
Allan Forrest (m. 1922–28)
Russel O. Gillard (m. 1929–33)
John William Lock (m. 1933–36)
Children 1
Parent(s) John Charles Smith
Charlotte Hennessy
Relatives Mary Pickford (sister)
Jack Pickford (brother)

Lottie Pickford (June 9, 1893 – December 9, 1936) was a Canadian-born silent film actress, and socialite. She was the sister of fellow actress Mary Pickford and actor Jack Pickford.

One of her best known roles was in The Diamond from the Sky directed by William Desmond Taylor in 1915. Pickford's career is often overshadowed by that of her siblings and though she was a notable figure in the 1920s, her films and role in the Pickford acting family is now largely forgotten.

Early years[edit]

She was born Charlotte Smith, to John Charles Smith and Charlotte Hennessy. Pickford was named for her mother.[1] She was the middle child, born a year and two months after her sister Gladys Smith and two years before her brother John Charles Smith, called Jack. 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'.[2]

Pickford's father left the family while she was young, and Gladys took on responsibilities. Lottie and Jack became extremely close, banding together against their sister who they saw as strict.[3] Lottie idolized her brother Jack, and they remained close throughout their lifetimes.[4] Despite her tense relationship with Mary, she was protective of her and once jumped on D.W. Griffith to defend her sister during a heated argument with the director.[5]

In need of extra income the family began to act. On January 8, 1900, Gladys and Lottie appeared in The Silver King. Lottie was either offered a lesser sum than her sister or was part of a packaged deal.[6] The family eventually moved to New York City where they all acted in various productions, sometimes together, sometimes not. At one point Lottie and Gladys had to travel on their own for one production.[4]

Of the family, Gladys was the breakout star. Her family members were usually attached to her as a contractual stipulation.[4][7] After she started in films, she took the name Mary Pickford. Lottie and Jack also used the surname Pickford in their acting careers. Mary was influential in getting her siblings on the payroll after she started acting in films.[8]

Film career[edit]

In 1907, Mary adopted the stage name 'Mary Pickford'. The rest of the family adopted the Pickford name by the time they began appearing in films. Mary signed with D.W. Griffith's Biograph Company in 1909 and also secured work for her siblings.

The House of Bondage poster

Between 1909 and 1910, Mary made eighty shorts, Jack made twenty-eight, and Lottie made twenty-five.[9] Of the three Pickfords, Lottie's talents were considered the weakest. Actress Linda Arvidson said Mary had decided her sister was not pretty enough for films, and had done her best to keep her away from Biograph.[9] When the Biograph Company departed for California, Lottie Pickford and her mother were left behind. She would eventually join her sister in California.[10]

Away from her elder 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 receive good reviews, being considered too crude.[11] In 1915, Pickford appeared in Fanchon, the Cricket, opposite both her siblings. It is the only film in which all three Pickford siblings appear. It was thought lost until rediscovered in the 20th century at the British Film Institute.[12]

Pickford starred in The Diamond from the Sky serial (1915) although, to her humiliation, she was only given the role after Mary turned it down. 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.[11] The serial was jeopardized when she became pregnant. This incident put her on the unofficial Hollywood blacklist for a short time.[13] Pickford performed in only five roles between 1915 and 1918, when she took a break from acting.

She divorced her first husband. She next appeared in the starring role in 1921's They Shall Pay in which co-starred Allan Forrest, her future husband. Pickford again took several years' time off from acting before returning in a minor role in the 1924 film Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall.[14] Her final role was opposite her brother-in-law Douglas Fairbanks Sr. in Don Q Son of Zorro in 1925. During her career, Pickford starred in eight features, while her brother starred in over forty features.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Pickford was a socialite and partying was her first love. She and her brother Jack both struggled with alcoholism later in life. Her parties were legendary and lasted until morning; drugs and alcohol were plentiful, as was nudity. Pickford's maid recalled that when they heard Mary's car pulling in, Pickford and her friends would "Jump into their knickers!"[13] Despite her reputation as a party girl, Pickford was considered to be down to earth, friendly, sweet, and unpretentious.[16]

Marriages[edit]

On an unknown date in 1915, before the release of The Diamond from the Sky, Pickford quietly married New York broker Alfred Rupp. The couple had a daughter in 1915, Mary Pickford Rupp (who would be later renamed Gwynne Rupp).[13] The couple separated in 1919 and divorced the following year.[17] For unknown reasons, Pickford allowed her mother Charlotte to legally adopt her daughter, who was renamed Gwynne in 1920. Pickford did not comment to the press on the matter, other than to say she would never marry again.[16] Gwynne lived with her grandmother until Charlotte, Sr.'s death in 1928. At that time, Gwynne's aunt Mary Pickford took custody of her. This arrangement lasted until Gwynne married radio announcer Hugh "Bud" Ernst in June 1939.[18]

Lottie Pickford did marry again, to actor Allan Forrest in January 1922.[19] She obtained a divorce from Forrest in Paris in 1927.[20] On July 22, 1929, she married Russel O. Gillard, an undertaker from Los Angeles.[21] They divorced in February 1933 on charges of "extreme cruelty" by her husband.[22][23] Later that year, Pickford married a Pittsburgh society man named John William Lock. They remained married until her early death in 1936.[24]

Death[edit]

On December 6, 1936, Pickford suffered a heart attack at the age of 43. She was said to have been in failing health for three years, related to alcohol abuse. She died three days later at her home in Beverly Hills.[24] Her funeral was held on December 13 at Wee Kirk o' the Heather Church in Glendale, California.[25] She is buried in the Pickford family plot in Forest Lawn Cemetery.[26]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1909 Two Memories Short film
1909 The Faded Lilies Short film
1909 The Necklace Short film
1909 The Cardinal's Conspiracy The Princess' Servant (unconfirmed) Short film
1909 Tender Hearts Nellie's Friend Short film
1909 The Slave A Dancer Short film
1909 A Strange Meeting At Party Short film
1909 The Better Way Puritan Short film
1909 The Indian Runner's Romance Indian (unconfirmed) Short film
1909 The Little Darling Short film
1909 The Hessian Renegades Short film
1909 Getting Even Short film
1909 The Broken Locket Short film
1909 His Lost Love Short film
1909 What's Your Hurry? Short film
1909 The Light That Came Short film
1909 In the Window Recess Short film
1909 Through the Breakers At the Ball Short film
1909 The Red Man's View Minnewanna Short film
1909 The Test A Maid (unconfirmed) Short film
1909 To Save Her Soul Short film
1910 The Woman from Mellon's Young Woman (unconfirmed) Short film
1910 The Newlyweds Short film
1910 The Smoker Short film
1910 The Tenderfoot's Triumph Short film
1910 A Knot in the Plot Short film
1910 A Victim of Jealousy Short film
1910 Serious Sixteen Short film
1910 The Call to Arms Short film
1910 Unexpected Help Short film
1910 The Affair of an Egg Short film
1910 A Summer Idyll Short film
1910 The Oath and the Man Short film
1910 Examination Day at School Short film
1910 A Gold Necklace Nellie Short film
1910 The Broken Doll Townswoman Short film
1910 Two Little Waifs Short film
1910 Simple Charity In hallway Short film
1910 A Plain Song Storemate Short film
1910 A Child's Stratagem Short film
1910 Happy Jack, a Hero A hero Short film
1910 The Golden Supper Flower girl Short film
1910 His Sister-In-Law Eva Short film
1910 White Roses At party Short film
1911 The Two Paths At party Short film
1911 The Italian Barber At ball Short film
1911 The Midnight Marauder Mrs. Henry Blowhard Short film
1911 Help Wanted In Corridor Short film
1911 His Trust Woman at farewell Short film
1911 The Dream Short film
Uncredited
1911 Fate's Turning Short film
1911 A Wreath of Orange Blossoms Short film
1911 Three Sisters At Dancing Academy Short film
1911 Sweet Memories Young Lettie Terrell Short film
1911 The Lighthouse Keeper Wedding Guest Short film
Uncredited
1911 The Toss of a Coin Short film
1911 Who's Who Georgia Short film
1911 The Courting of Mary Short film
1911 Love at Gloucester Port Alice Newall Short film
1911 Little Red Riding Hood Short film
1912 Love Finds the Way Margaret Durand - Jack's Sweetheart Short film
1912 The Belle of New Orleans Short film
1912 A Mardi Gras Mix-Up Paul's wife Short film
1912 The Pilgrimage Gretchen Short film
1912 A Beast at Bay Unconfirmed role Short film
1912 Into the Jungle Mary Short film
1912 The Girl Strikers Short film
1912 Lena and the Geese Short film
1912 Love's Diary Kate Morgan - the Stenographer Short film
1912 A Child's Remorse Short film
1913 When a Girl Loves Betty Short film
1913 For Old Time's Sake Short film
1913 Granny Short film
1914 The House of Bondage Mary Denbigh
1915 The Diamond from the Sky Esther Stanley, the Gypsy Heroine Lost film
1915 Fanchon, the Cricket Madelon
1915 Curly Short film
1916 The Reward of Patience Edith Penfield
1917 On the Level Eleanore Duke
1918 Mile-a-Minute Kendall Rosalynde d'Aubre
1918 The Man from Funeral Range Dixie
1921 They Shall Pay Margaret Seldon
1924 Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall Jennie Faxton Credited as Lottie Pickford Forrest
1925 Don Q, Son of Zorro Lola Credited as Lottie Pickford Forrest

Further reading[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ (Whitfield 1997, p. 8)
  2. ^ a b (Whitfield 1997, p. 14)
  3. ^ (Whitfield 1997, p. 18)
  4. ^ a b c (Whitfield 1997, p. 42)
  5. ^ (Whitfield 1997, pp. 95–96)
  6. ^ (Whitfield 1997, p. 22)
  7. ^ (Whitfield 1997, p. 62)
  8. ^ (Whitfield 1997, p. 82)
  9. ^ a b (Whitfield 1997, p. 89)
  10. ^ (Whitfield 1997, p. 110)
  11. ^ a b (Whitfield 1997, p. 171)
  12. ^ Cade, Mary Ann. "The Lost Film Files". silentsaregolden.com. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c (Whitfield 1997, p. 172)
  14. ^ (Whitfield 1997, p. 240)
  15. ^ (Whitfield 1997, p. 305)
  16. ^ a b (Whitfield 1997, p. 222)
  17. ^ (Whitfield 1997, p. 188)
  18. ^ "Niece of Mary Pickford Weds Radio Announcer". Ottawa Citizen. June 1, 1939. p. 23. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Lottie Pickford To Wed For Second Time Tonight". The Baltimore Sun. January 7, 1922. p. 2. 
  20. ^ "Lottie Pickford Divorced". Reading Eagle. February 16, 1928. p. 4. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Lottie Pickford on Third Honeymoon". Berkeley Daily Gazette. July 24, 1929. p. 7. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Lottie Pickford Obtains Divorce". The New York Times. February 17, 1933. 
  23. ^ "Mary's Sister Is Given Divorce". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 17 February 1933. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  24. ^ a b "Lottie Pickford Dies After Lengthy Illness". The Evening Independent. December 10, 1936. p. 1. Retrieved February 4, 2013. 
  25. ^ "ASSOCIATES AT RITES FOR LOTTIE PICKFORD; More Than 150 Friends Gather at Wee Kirk o' the Heather for Funeral in Hollywood". The New York Times. December 13, 1936. 
  26. ^ (Whitfield 1997, pp. 305–307)

References[edit]

  • Whitfield, Eileen. (1997). Pickford, The Woman Who Made Hollywood. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-813-12045-4

External links[edit]