In the early days of movies, Mary Pickford was the original "America's Sweetheart."
Now the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Mary Pickford Foundation are partnering on a multi-year initiative to bring fresh attention to the Oscar-winning actress and her girlish charm in such films as "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" and "Pollyanna," Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said Tuesday.
The partnership will include an annual silent film screening, silent film preservation initiatives and the digitization of parts of the Academy's collection of her films.
To kick off this partnership, and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Academy's Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study, the Academy and the Foundation will host a special "Inside the Vaults" event on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the Pickford Center in Hollywood. The evening will include behind-the-scenes tours of the vaults, a screening of a rare Mary Pickford short "The New York Hat" (1912), the Los Angeles premiere of the Academy Film Archive's newly restored print of "The Mark of Zorro" (1920), starring Douglas Fairbanks, and a display of select items from the Academy's Mary Pickford collection. Tours begin at 6 p.m. and the screening program begins at 8 p.m.
"We are thrilled that together with the Mary Pickford Foundation, we will bring the groundbreaking work of Mary Pickford and the pioneers of the silent film era to the attention of a new generation," said Hudson.
As Hudson noted, Pickford was a founding member of the Academy. Pickford won an Oscar for best actress for "Coquette" (1929) and received a lifetime achievement Oscar in 1976. Together with Fairbanks, her husband during the height of the Silent Film era, she served as the head of Hollywood's royalty, with their Beverly Hills mansion, Pickfair, becoming a movie industry gathering spot for top talent like Charlie Chaplin and Noel Coward.
The Mary Pickford Foundation will work in partnership with the Academy's Margaret Herrick Library to strengthen its existing collection of Pickford papers, photographs and memorabilia with newly found items from the silent film star's personal collection. In addition, the library will digitize a selection of historically significant items in the collection.