Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 97

Mary Pickford: The Little Girl 93 she could secure a more prestigious position on Broadway. Griffith took one look at her and said, “Y ou’re too little and too fat, but I may give you a chance” (Eyman 37). Seeing possibility in the tiny woman with a pleasant face, long golden curls, and a fiery personality, he offered her five dollars a day, but she demanded ten, with a guarantee o f twenty-five dollars a week. They struck a deal, and Griffith later recalled that he hired Pickford “on her own terms” (Eyman 40). W hen Griffith was directing her, she refused to look at him saying, “If I look at you, 1*11 imitate you, and I want to be m yself’ (Mary Pickford: Muse o f the Movies ). Taken with her talent, naturalistic style o f acting, and exquisite comic timing, Griffith began moving the camera closer to her face to capture her expressions, ushering in a new style o f filmmaking. Together, they pioneered the close-up, a way o f ffeezing time. Over the next two years, Pickford went on to make many approximately eighty shorts for Griffith, generating nearly a film a week, and Americans feil in love with the diminutive actress who frequently played the role o f a feisty young girl who had lost her family. Throughout her movie career, which spanned twenty-three years, one hundred twenty-five shorts, and fifty two feature-length films, Pickford always drove a hard bargain, becoming the first actress to eam a million dollars a year. Studio head Adolph Zukor once told her, “Mary, sweetheart, I don’t have to diet. Every time I talk over a contract with you and your mother I lose ten pounds” (W indeier 92), and Samuel Goldwyn quipped, “It took longer to make M ary’s contracts than it did to make her pictures” (W indeier 92). Pickford was Hollywood’s first major celebrity, already making $2,000 a week when Chaplin was still doing slapstick shorts for M ack Sennett (Lee 20). Neither she nor anyone eise knew much about stardom, but she did get one thing right: fame is fleeting. “I’ve always been scared to death,” she said. “I’ve always feit that everything was luck and that every year was my last so that I’d better make good” (W indeier 166). Pickford negotiated her deals with rigor, urgency, and an anxiety that her career was only for the moment. In other ways, Pickford sought to control time and recover a childhood she never had. As biographer Scott Eyman reports, Pickford was a driven actor and perfectionist, and her life was very regimented: she “usually rose at 6:30, had breakfast at 7:00, was at the Studio from 8:00 A.M. to 7:30 P.M. Dinner would be at 9:00 or 9:30 and then to bed, usually before 10:30 P.M.” (Eyman 158). “M y pictures were my whole life, outside o f my family,” she said. “I never went any place. I never went to cafes, restaurants, never went dancing, I had no social life