One of the 10 Best Books of 1997 - Quill & Quire One of the 100 Best Books of 1997 - Los Angeles Times Co-winner of the University of British Columbia Medal for Canadian Biography Shortlisted for the Viacom Nonfiction Award A silent Film star. A woman who played children, wide-eyed and gamine. Skipping around in frills and cute curls. That's how most people remember Mary Pickford. In reality, as Eileen Whitfield makes clear, Mary Pickford is a towering figure in movie history. Born in Toronto in 1892, Pickford began acting as a child, helping support her family after her father's accidental death. She switched from stage to film at age 17, joining D.W. Griffith's Biograph company, and became almost unimaginably popular. This allowed her to develop her own production company at Adolph Zukor's Famous Players, and in 1919 she co-founded (along with D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and her husband Douglas Fairbanks) United Artists, seizing not only creative control but also the marketing and distribution of her films. Eileen Whitfield recreates Pickford's life in meticulously researched detail, from her trying days in turn-of-the-century Toronto to her reign as mistress of Pickfair, the legendary Los Angeles estate at which she and Fairbanks entertained the world's elite, to her sadly moving demise. Along the way, Whitfield explores the intricate psychology that tied Pickford to her mother throughout her life, and analyzes Pickford's brilliant innovations in the art of film acting; her profound influence on the movie business (paving the way for such powerful Hollywood women as Jodie Foster and Whoopi Goldberg); and her role in the history of fame (she was the object of a mass adoration that prefigured today's cult of celebrity). Eight years in the making,Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywoodis definitive biography. It brings Pickford to life as a complex knot of contradictions and establishes her as a ground-breaking genius, casting new light on one of the influential -- and least understood -- artists in the history of popular culture. Pickfordwas the subject of lengthy, appreciative features inThe New YorkerandFilm Comment, and was the basis of two television documentaries: on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's "Life and Times" and on the History Channel. From the Hardcover edition.