|Mary, Lottie, and Jack Pickford|
So, I consider this the coming attraction or opening band before I do a big entry on Mary Pickford. I have held off doing entries on her and Chaplin because they are such biggies that (mostly) everyone knows who they are and I wanted to turn the spotlight on some of the lesser known, but still loved stars of the silent screen.
Jack and his sister Lottie were both actors in their own way, but of course, they were overshadowed by their gigantic star of a sister, Mary. This way of living under her shadow and the happy go lucky times of the 1920s let to the sad demise of both siblings due to alcoholism, excess, and fast living. Their big sister Mary outlived both of them. Jack was more famous for his marriages to famous leading ladies of stage and screen...Olive Thomas and Marilyn Miller (coincidentally who both died tragically as well). Lottie was known around Hollywood for having such a good time at parties, that she would take off all her clothes! (Sounds like Virginia Rappe, no?)
The patriarch of the family, John was an alcoholic who deserted the family when his children were still young. Charlotte Smith decided to put her children on stage in order to make more money for the family she was now responsible for. They eventually moved to New York City where the three siblings continued to make good money performing.
In 1910, Charlotte Smith signed a contract with Biograph Studios. This lead to her eldest daughter, Gladys, changing her name to Mary Pickford. The entire family eventually changed their surname to Pickford.
Mary, being the head breadwinner of the family, did her duty and got both her siblings jobs acting for the studio. But while Mary decided to move to California to continue acting, her family was still living in New York. Jack was just a teenager at this time, but he really wanted to follow his big sister out to California...even though Mary wanted him to stay put. Well, Mary have been the wage earner, but Charlotte was still in charge! She ignored her eldest daughter and sent Jack out to join her in California.
He signed up with First National Pictures after his sister insisted in her contract that her family was signed along with her. He appeared in around 100 films at this time! But he just didn't/couldn't make a big splash. He continued making films until around 1928. He never appeared in a talkie.
|Jack and Madge Bellamy|
After 3 failed marriages, Jack became even more of a wreck. He visited his sister briefly in 1932, and Mary later remembered a premonition she had that told her that would be the last time she saw her brother. Sadly, she was right.
He was buried in the Pickford plot along with his mother at Forest Lawn in Glendale, California.
As stated above, Jack was married three times...to three Ziegfeld Girls! His first, and most famous marriage was to my beloved Olive Thomas in 1916. Even though the two seemed perfect for each other and oh so happy, they had quit the tumultuous marriage. Both young with lots of money, they loved to spend lavishly and enjoyed partying to all hours of the morning. Olive wanted to have kids, but it never came about (which is kind of a blessing, don't ya think? I think these two would have been fine on their own until they got older). Sadly, Olive passed away while the two were vacationing in Paris. She had accidentally (in my opinion) swallowed Jack's mercury bichloride that he used to treat his syphilis. Jack later told his mother that he almost jumped off the ship that was carrying him and his wife's body back to the States for burial. But a voice inside his head told him not to do such a "cowardly act."
|Jack and Olive Pickford|
His second marriage was to another party loving Ziegfeld Girl, Marilyn Miller. They married in 1922, but apparently Jack was very abusive and cruel towards her, so she eventually filed for a divorce in 1927. His last marriage was to Mary Mulhern in 1930. The couple was separated and headed for divorce when Jack passed away.
A lot of people say that Jack could have reached great stardom like his sister, but his hard partying ways took control over him. He loved to drink and spend money on whatever he could and often borrowed money from Mary to go spend on a wild night on the town. Jack may have been seen as the "Boy Next Door" onscreen, but in real life, he was anything but.
Jack has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame..........and honestly, not sure why. I mean..........yeah, not sure why. I don't know if Mary had anything to do with it, but it just seems like such a big honor for someone who hasn't a huge star. Perhaps it was because he made so many films in the early days of cinema. Who knows?
Lottie was born Charlotte Smith on June 9, 1893 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She was her father's favorite, and he gave her the nickname "Chuckie." Older sister Mary was quite jealous of all the attention her father put on her younger sister.
Lottie and Jack were the closest of the siblings because after their father left, Mary took on a more motherly role because she was earning money for the family. They saw her a strict, mean, and bossy but they all remained close throughout their lives. Lottie even defended her sister against mean accusations from director, D.W. Griffith. Lottie though idolized her younger brother, and loved him dearly.
Although all the siblings were signed by studios and acted in features, Lottie was the weakest when it came to acting. She was also considered not very pretty, so Biograph studios didn't really want anything to do with her. So, instead of getting cast for lead parts, she would work as an understudy for Mary, take bit parts in her films, and just hung around the set for an extra work. In all, she appeared in around 25 shorts and only 8 features.
She was actually blacklisted from films for a short time when the studio found out she was pregnant and hadn't told anyone.
She was buried next to her brother and mother in the Pickford plot in Forest Lawn-Glendale.
Even though Lottie had a short life, she wound up being married four times! Her first husband was a broker named Alfred Rupp in 1915. They had a daughter named Mary Pickford Rupp (nice sentiment for someone who wasn't too fond of her sister. She eventually went by the name Gwynne). Lottie and Rupp divorced in 1920. After the divorce, Lottie gave up custody of her daughter to her mother. She also began drinking heavily and using drugs at this point and was not a good mother figure. Gwynne was very close to Charlotte Smith and also with Mary, but there is no word whether or not she had a close relationship with her mother after she gave her up.
In 1922, she married actor Allan Forrest. She used his last name as her stage name in a few films, until they divorced in 1928. A year later she married an undertaker named Russel Gillard. They divorced in 1933. Her final marriage was to John William Lock. They remained married until her death, but I am not sure if they were together at the time or not.
|Mary and Lottie Pickford|
In Mary's autobiography, she talked very highly of her brother Jack and defended him against any bad press he may have received in his lifetime (or after for that matter.) She did not do the same for Lottie.
The three Pickford siblings only appeared in one movie together; Fanchon, The Cricket in 1915. It was a film that was considered lost for years until he was rediscovered in England. The film was also the screen debut of Adele and Fred Astaire.