Mary Pickford’s first husband, was known as one of the great stars of silent films. / He was in his heyday as a screen idol at about the time when Wallace Reid, Rudolph Valentino and others were in the limelight. (1)
Mary Pickford was known as “America’s Sweetheart” and “Queen of the Movies” and the most powerful woman in the history of Hollywood with her creation of United Artists along with swashbuckling, debonair mega star husband Douglas Fairbanks. Pickfords marriage to Moore was a stormy one: part adoration, describing him as “five feet eleven inches tall, extremely handsome…with a musical voice and perfect teeth”, however he was also an abusive alcoholic which among other factors led to their divorce. A Photoplay journalist was shocked as to the description of Moore in the press coverage of the divorce [as a] “glowering, sulking bulk of masculinity” and instead found him to be a “perfectly cool, cheerful young man who beamed on me with the famous Moore smile and twinkled with half humorous, half pensive eyes…its hard to imagine anyone failing to ‘get on’ with Owen Moore”. (2) Along with Marie Dressler, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and husband Douglas Fairbanks Pickford led a War Bond Drive in 1918.
Mary Pickford’s brother Jack Pickford married Olive Thomas, one of the most beautiful and highly paid actresses of the silent film era. In 1920, Thomas played a teenage schoolgirl The Flapper, the first actress to portray a lead character who was a flapper and the film was the first of its kind to portray the flapper lifestyle-Frances Marion, who wrote the scenario, is often credited for bringing the term into the American vernacular. (3,4)
At her peak Olive had a guaranteed salary of 2.5 million a year and alone floated Myron Selznick’s- son of film executive Lewis J. Selznick and brother of renowned producer David O. Selznick- struggling Selznick’s Picture Corporation. Moore costarred with Thomas in A Girl Like That (1917) and a Wids theater manual reviewed him … “Mr. Moore tried hard to make this human and the characterization given by Mr. Moore helped a lot in keeping some of the wilder melodrama from registering as entirely impossible”. (5)
Olive Thomas’s death in Paris by poisoning / murder / suicide – pick one- at age twenty – six was the first scandal in Hollywood history. While Thomas lay in the American Hospital dying, papers reported that Thomas had attempted suicide after having a fight with Pickford over his alleged infidelities, while others said she attempted suicide after discovering Pickford – who had a raging alcohol, cocaine and heroin problem as well – had given her syphilis. There were rumors that Thomas also was plagued by a drug addiction, that she and Pickford had been involved in “champagne and cocaine orgies,” or that Pickford tricked her into drinking poison in an attempt to murder her to collect her insurance money. (6,7,8 ). Owen Moore consoled Jack Pickford and was with Olive until her death. Thomas’s ghost (like Belasco) is said to haunt a theater- in this case The New Amsterdam theater.
3. Sagert, Kelly Boyer (2010). Flappers A Guide to an American Subculture. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 0-313-37690-
4. Desser, David; Jowett, Garth (2000). Hollywood Goes Shopping. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-8166-3513-9.
5. Vogel, 150.
6.Blum, Deborah (2011). The Poisoner’s Handbook Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York. Penguin Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0-14-311882-.
7.Petrucelli, Alan W. (2009). Morbid Curiosity The Disturbing Demises of the Famous and Infamous. Perigee Trade. ISBN 978-0-399-53527-7.
8.Beauchamp, Cari (1998). Without Lying Down Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21492-7.