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Mary Pickford: The Angelina Jolie of her day, but much more famous

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Big eyes, a luscious mouth, Oscar-winning star of dozens of movies, fame on an enormous, worldwide scale, the daughter of actor parents, a feisty, independent and ambitious nature, one half of an enviously beautiful Hollywood power couple, trailed by fans and paparazzi.

Sounds like Angelina Jolie, right?

Actually, it also describes the woman who, many years earlier, when movies were black-and-white, emotionally gut-punching and entirely silent, staked her claim as “America’s sweetheart” and paved the way for Jolie, for Brangelina, for Hollywood as we know it: Mary Pickford.

You may hear Pickford’s name more and more these days, even if you don’t recognize it at first. A biopic on the actress, The First, will go into production in 2013, starring Lily Rabe (American Horror Story) as Pickford, and Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire) as her first husband, Owen Moore. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently announced partnering with the Mary Pickford Foundation on a multi-year initiative to promote her long legacy.
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