Mary Pickford

From her earliest days on screen, Mary Pickford's delicate and youthful looks made her popular for all audiences. The had the fortune of carrying a youthful appearance well into adulthood. This allowed her to portray a variety of characters on screen, from children, to adolescents, to adults. She played teenage characters well into her thirties.

The films of this list exemplify Mary's ability to transgress individual characterizations based off age, showing the range of personas she was able to bring to life on screen.

DVD cover of "Fanchon the Cricket"

Fanchon the Cricket (1915)

Genre: Drama

DVD cover of "Stella Maris"

Stella Maris (1918)

Genre: Drama

In this dual-role performance recommended by film scholar Cari Beauchamp, Mary Pickford plays bedbound and sheltered youth Stella Maris and her doppelganger Unity Blake, away ward orphan taken in by John, a journalist friend of Stella's family. A love triangle soon develops between Stella, Unity, and John, leading to jealousies flaring, personalities clashing, and tragedy occurring. Mary Pickford exhibits her range as an actress in the film, flawlessly playing to contrasting yet powerful characters.
DVD cover of "Johanna Enlists"

Johanna Enlists (1918)

Genre: Comedy-Romance


Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921)

Genre: Drama

In another trademarked and age-and gender-defying performance, Little Lord Fauntleroy sees Mary Pickford fill the roles of the poverty-stricken Dearest Errol and her young son, Cedric. When Cedric discovers he has been named heir of a wealthy relative, he and his mother travel from New York to England to claim their newfound fortune. Unfortunately, once there the mother and son find themselves separated and at risk of losing their newfound fortune to a rival claimant to the inheritance. Mary Pickford, who was only in her late 20s at the time of filming, once again demonstrates her strength as an actress, embodying both a male child and his adult mother.
DVD cover of "Little Annie Rooney"

Little Annie Rooney (1925)

Genre: Comedy-Drama

In this comedy-drama, Mary Pickford plays the titular Annie Rooney, a young girl living her life causing mischief with youth street gangs. Her father, a police officer, disproves of her rough-and-tumble way of living, but when she finds herself falling in love with the leaders of one of the street gangs Annie is torn between two worlds of law and crime. In this role, Mary Pickford moves away from her famous feminine image in favour of a character who is more tough and street-smart, associating with lowly criminals and life in the streets.
DVD cover of "Sparrows"

Sparrows (1926)

Genre: Drama
DVD cover of "Coquette"

Coquette (1929)

Genre: Drama

In her Academy-Award winning performance, Mary Pickford plays Norma Besant, the daughter of an overbearing southern doctor who wants to determine her love life for her. When they each try to take matters over her relationships into their own hands, matters come to a boiling point of murder, trial, and interpersonal drama. In what was her first speaking role, Mary plays Norma as a strong and loyal, but conflicted, young woman, forced to choose between love and family.
DVD cover of "Secrets"

Secrets (1933)

Genre: Western

In Mary Pickford's final acting role before retirement, she plays the daughter of a wealthy businessman fated for an unwanted marriage. The film, written by Frances Marion, follows Pickford's character Mary runs away from her overbearing parents to marry her truelove, and elopes with him to the Wild West. While there, the couple must brave the dangers of the frontier and their own family dramas.