| Do Not Sell My Personal Information Discover (and save!) In desperation she worked as a film extra for $7 a day, struggling for almost a decade to revive her career. The last place she wanted to go was back to Hollywood. She was three when she made her feature-film debut. I mean me, I could not be me as long as I was carrying her. Baby Peggy obituary Child film star from the silent movie era who was a millionaire at four and broke by the age of 14 Tuesday February 25 2020, 12.00pm , The Times "There was never any plan for us to be adults," she says. ", She was born in San Diego in 1918, but her family soon moved to Los Angeles so that her father, Jack, an aspiring cowboy, could find stunt work in Western pictures. Like Peggy-Jean (as her parents called her), Hollywood was in its infancy, but even then, the town had a knack for spotting talent. Excellent Doc by Diana Serra Cary (Baby Peggy). Baby Peggy demonstrated her precocious comic talents in a still from the 1920s. “But I wasn’t impressed by fame or other stars. THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER is a registered trademark of The Hollywood Reporter, LLC. "I'm always telling him to discourage her. The family’s business adviser ran off with their fortune and she was suddenly broke. Working conditions for child actors during the 1920s were horrific. Her career was just as precarious offscreen. “It wasn’t fun and it was hard work with its ups and downs. “Sit” meant SIT! "He said, 'God, no, if you had a baby, there would be no Baby Peggy anymore.' “At less that two years of age I was earning four times more than my father and he felt emasculated.”. Peggy was only four when she signed $1million-a-movie deal, Silent horror film still has power to haunt, In the Roaring Twenties Peggy was the most acclaimed child star, Peggy changed her name so Diana Serra Cary and became a writer, Peggy's parents started spending more than she was earning, At 97 Baby Peggy is the last living silent movie star, Peggy's father struggled with her success, Paul Merton looks at Alfred Hitchcock ****. "They thought it was endless. Yet the studios made her life seem glamorous. "We didn't have a democracy in our home," she explains. Trying to shed her troubled past Peggy changed her name to Diana Serra Cary. “They got into the habit of spending more than was earned,” she says. By 1925, at the ripe old age of 6, the roles started drying up, Principal Pictures, run by legendary silent producer Sol Lesser, let her go following a dispute with her father, and her parents would spend nearly every dime she had made. Potential hazards were, sadly, second nature to the young star. Diana Serra Cary, the child silent film star known by the nickname Baby Peggy, died on Monday in Gustine, Calif. She was 101. My whole childhood I was exploited. But her family spent extravagantly, especially her … “My father would put me through a few things like registering fear, anger, happiness, sorrow. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights. Living modestly in a sleepy Californian town 280 miles north of Hollywood, despite two recent minor strokes Peggy is agile with her walker and working on a new Hollywood history. Ouvrages [modifier | modifier le code] (en-US) What Ever Happened to Baby Peggy: The Autobiography of Hollywood's Pioneer Child Star, Diana Serra Cary, St. Martins Press, 1996, (ISBN 0-312-14760-0) (en-US) The Hollywood Posse: The Story of a Gallant Band of Horsemen Who Made Movie History, Diana Serra Cary, University of Oklahoma Press, 1996, (ISBN 0-8061-2835-6) During 1924's presidential race, the Democrats went so far as to name her the party's official "mascot" at their nominating convention (they lost the election anyway). “Child stars were important in those days. She filmed more than 150 two-reeler short films before she turned four, playing detectives, reporters, beggars, bellboys, movie stars, matadors and Mounties. Born Peggy Jean Montgomery in San Diego, Cary first appeared on film at 19 months, and eventually commanded $1 million per movie. She remarried in 1954 to a graphic artist named Bob Cary (they have one son, Mark Cary, 55) and had "a very happy marriage" until his death in 2001. See more ideas about serra, silent movie, silent film. Nobody knew who I was. My, how you’ve changed.”. “At times I was exposed to real danger,” she recalls. Diana Serra Cary, once known as silent film star Baby Peggy, has died at 101. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe. Showbiz Kids gives us a glimpse at some of Baby Peggy’s most famous on-screen moments — as Little Red Riding Hood in the 1922 short by the same name, fighting a bull in Carmen Jr., and more. But what is surprising is that she thought of Baby Peggy as a separate person even when she was a child. Fans bought her signature dolls, jewellery, canned peaches, sheet music and even her own brand of milk. "I mentioned to him that maybe we should have a child," she says. According to Rena Kiehn of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, Cary … "She wasn't the first child star," notes film historian David Robinson (that would be the infant in Louis Lumiere's 1895 film Baby's Dinner). What she really wanted to do was write, and she has had some success with that over the years. "People said my performances changed their lives," says Peggy, 97, who now goes by the name Diana Serra Cary (she changed it when she was 61) and who may very well be the last living silent-film star. Before long, Baby Peggy was headlining in full-length silent features such as Darling of New York, Captain January and Family Secret. They were divorced in 1948. Cary starred in more than 150 short films and dozens of longer silent features from 1921 to 1924, becoming one of the highest-earning movie stars of the day. Before there was Shirley Temple, there was Baby Peggy, and during the early '20s, the child actress appeared in over a dozen feature-length films and numerous short films.She was born Peggy Montgomery in Rock Island, IL, the daughter of a stunt man and a bit player. Born on October 29, 1918 as Peggy … Comment Report abuse. Although she's a spry 97 — she's agile even with her walker — there have been recent health issues (including two minor strokes) as well as continuing financial difficulties. DW. This story first appeared in the March 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Boy, did she ever. Yet by the age of seven she was washed up, her fortune squandered by her family and she slipped into anonymity – until now. Peggy struggled for years to deal with the aftermath of fame and its loss. Certainly it was an identity crisis. "We lived in a very autocratic home. I was very outgoing and I could take the discipline without being cowed.”. He cast her in her first short, Playmates; hundreds of others followed, the early ones co-starring a popular screen terrier named Brownie the Wonder Dog. She married her first husband, bartender Gordon Ayres, in 1938 but divorced 10 years later, after she realized he was mostly interested in her past celebrity status. “It was hurtful and I found it extremely difficult to survive the horror of being shunted aside.”. Peggy made just one more film during the silent era, with a small role in the poignantly titled April Fool. But I have no regrets.”. At the age of four she graduated to full-length silent feature films including The Darling Of New York, Captain January and Family Secret. They want the child on the screen, they want money, they want fame, they want reflective glory. And Baby Peggy made a pretty good dent in people’s lives. The last seriously silly thing her father did was buy a ranch in Wyoming, where he moved the family in 1929 — right before the Great Depression. Buy 'Baby Peggy LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD silent movie film fairytale' by Love30smovies as a Sleeveless Top "They did some silly things," she says, "but they didn't do them viciously." People would come up to me and say, “Oh, you were so cute. For the next few years, Peggy supported her family by touring with vaudeville acts, even then a dying art form. See today's front and back pages, download the newspaper, Baby Peggy.' Calvin Coolidge was in the White House. Apr 13, 2016 - Explore classicmovieblg's board "Baby Peggy", followed by 254 people on Pinterest. She saw co-star Jack Earle blinded by falling scenery and watched a trained elephant break its chains and kill a studio employee before it was shot. The MPTF sent out a caseworker and indeed did have a change of heart; instead of financial aid, they offered the last living silent star a room at the Country Home ("We felt this was the best gift we could give her," MPTF president Bob Beitcher tells THR). She was chosen as the Democratic Party mascot and shared the convention stage with future US president Franklin D Roosevelt. "We were never wealthy, but he was a good man, a fine person," she says. Home of the Daily and Sunday Express. Baby Peggy, the last of the silent movie stars SHE was Hollywood’s original Million-Dollar Baby. "Never was there a mention that we would be adults someday and would have to decide what to do with our lives." “Worst of all my fame ostracised me. Baby Peggy’s and my own failure to get on my feet.”. F. Scott Fitzgerald was writing The Great Gatsby. Often considered a precursor to Shirley Temple, Baby Peggy's most popular film vehicle was the child classic Captain January (1924), which would be made a decade later as a vehicle for Temple. She wed Gordon Ayers in 1938, divorcing after 10 years, and in 1954 married artist Bob Cary, her husband until his death in 2001. Even when it was happening I realised it was nobody’s fault but you get hurt in spite of that.”. 5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent memoir and biography. She became a writer, penning books about early Hollywood and her memoir Whatever Happened To Baby Peggy? I never expected to live this long or for people to still remember me after almost a century. “The talkies killed vaudeville,” she says. There is no future in it. "My doctor has a daughter who wants to be an actress," she goes on, taking a sip of water with a straw, a framed vintage Baby Peggy poster hanging on the wall over her shoulder. | EU Privacy Preferences, Main Image: Photographed by Sally Peterson. Peggy did not attend school until she was 12 and there were no work safety laws protecting children. "People said my performances changed their lives,” she says. And she urges parents not to put their children in movies. The door she was supposed to escape through burst into flames and she had to scramble through a burning window to survive. "Not my cup of tea," she says repeatedly. “I tried to make a comeback and it didn’t work. Interviews,, movie clips, interesting discussion on how child stars of the silent years were left impoverished and jobless by their "doting" parents (Montgomery, Coogan, etc) Read more. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Diana Serra Cary (born Peggy-Jean Montgomery, October 29, 1918 – February 24, 2020), known as Baby Peggy, was an American child film actress, vaudevillian, author and silent film historian. While filming Darling of New York, for instance, 4-year-old Peggy nearly was incinerated shooting a scene set in a burning building (a special effect achieved the old-fashioned way by actually lighting the structure on fire). The Motion Picture & Television Fund Country Home, which initially rejected Baby Peggy's request for in-home help. AdChoices Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for OLD MOVIE PHOTO The Flower Girl Poster Baby Peggy 1924 at the best online prices at eBay! Like the adult Miss Piggy, she often refers to herself as "moi," and when excited she usually says "Yippee-skippee!" "But she was a naturally gifted comic, a very effective mimic, with a very distinctive personality and a great sense of grown-up mannerisms and affectations.". And here in Hollywood — in 1924, the silent-movie capital of the world — a 4-year-old child star nicknamed Baby Peggy (real name: Peggy-Jean Montgomery) was presented with a film … It was the only place that was still functioning.". To her, Baby Peggy is another human being, a role she performed, to be spoken about in the third person. "They got into the habit of spending more than was earned," she says from a chair in the dining room of her modest, yellow-colored ranch-style home in Gustine, Calif., about 90 miles from Fresno, where she has been living in anonymity for the past 18 years. Her father grew bitter over his daughter's success, and Peggy's family life deteriorated despite the fortune she was hauling in. She died at her home in Gustine, California, according to The Hollywood Reporter. At the time of her death, she was the last living film star of the Silent Era of Hollywood. Express. Her father had taught her and her older sister, Jackie-Louise, to obey commands with a snap of his fingers. Sitemap | She was just 20 months old. " In 1924, during production of Captain January, her father got into a salary dispute with the film's Lesser, who retaliated by canceling Peggy's contract with the studio and all but blacklisting her from the industry. "Child stars were important in those days. Peggy returned to Hollywood, attending school with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. All he heard was, 'Mr. Peggy fled to vaudeville performing four shows daily for $2,000 a week until 1928. *Baby Peggy was the last living silent film star and the 2nd oldest person to have appeared in film at the time of her death (Olivia de Havilland being the oldest). Little consideration appears to have been shown for her safety while shooting. Baby Peggy, Actress: Captain January. "He thought it was a solid investment, but it was six months before the stock market crash, and we lost everything," she remembers. “I lived with failure. order back issues and use the historic Daily Express Aug 19, 2015 - This Pin was discovered by Child Stars Photo Gallery. Unless you have good connections and start off early.". ", Peggy also had an unusually expressive face, matched with a distinctive bob haircut with short bangs, a look that caught the eye of a director at Century Studios (located on a then-sleepy strip known as Sunset Boulevard). Silent moppet star Jackie Coogan, immortalized as Charles Chaplin's The Kid (1921), had only one screen rival during the early 1920s, and that was none other than Baby Peggy. "My father lost control at a time when control was very important to a man," she says. This is unsurprising, given the gulf between the infant who was onscreen in the 1920s and the elderly woman who looks back at her from the 21st Century. Don’t put the child in the big arena. Diana Serra Cary, the silent movie star who was known by the nickname Baby Peggy, has died at the age of 101. I never had friends or played with other children. At the peak of her fame, the tiny film actress was an obsession for millions of Americans who bought Baby Peggy dolls, jewelry, sheet music, even brands of milk — and this was decades before the phrase "ancillary profits" even had been invented. I didn’t have a date until I was 22 and married the first boy who took me out.”. ". Baby Piggy, along with Kermit and Gonzo, made a special appearance in Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue. Their son Mark, aged 54, helps care for her now. We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Famed as Baby Peggy she was the most acclaimed child star of the Roaring Twenties. Baby Peggy, silent-film child star, dies at 101 February 25, 2020, 1:00 PM Diana Serra Cary, the silent-movie star who was known by the stage name Baby Peggy, has died at the age of 101. Hollywood discovered Peggy-Jean Montgomery when she was 19 months old and made her a star by the age of two. All rights reserved. It was just a job. ... a movie extra. Baby Piggy frequently longs to be a movie star in Hollywood when she grows up; it was even the main plot of an entire episode. And Peggy had a particular skill set that movie directors still prize in actors of every age — she took orders. Sep 6, 2012 - Baby Peggy smokes-Decaying Hollywood Mansion's “They said I was fearless, which was not true.”. “I had a great work ethic even as a child,” she says. She was born Peggy-Jean Montgomery in 1918 in San Diego, California, of acting stock. She only wishes the memories of her glory days were happier. | California Privacy Rights Her contemporary was Jackie Coogan, the well-known child star, … I assumed that all children worked to support their families. Much of the $1.5 million already had been spent — on a 14-room house in Laurel Canyon, a $30,000 Duesenberg car, golf memberships for her father — although she says she doesn't blame her parents. © 2021 The Hollywood Reporter, LLC. Peggy fell into movies in 1920, visiting a Hollywood studio with her mother and spotted by a director seeking an infant to co-star in a comedy with Brownie The Wonder Dog. Her authoritarian father Jack, a cowboy-turned-stunt double for western star Tom Mix, directed Peggy’s performances like an animal trainer, barking commands. In 2013, TCM produced a documentary about her, The Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room (Vera Iwerebor), which was released on DVD along with a selection of her films. Choisir vos préférences en matière de cookies. At one point in late 2015, her son (who lost his job as a mechanic in February 2015 and has been keeping busy as his mother's caretaker while trying to launch a side business selling autographed Baby Peggy pho­tographs) tried to get financial aid for in-home care from the Motion Picture & Television Fund Country Home, but the request was denied. Baby Peggy was very powerful. As Baby Peggy, Cary made 150 films by 5 years old – though the vast majority were tragically destroyed in a company fire. Winning a $1million movie deal at four – worth $14million at today’s prices – her parents began spending lavishly. She penned a 1996 memoir, Whatever Happened to Baby Peggy?, as well as a biography of fellow child star Jackie Cooper, and further satisfied her love of literature by working for 20-plus years as a trade book buyer for the University of California in San Diego. At 97 Baby Peggy is the last living silent movie star, the final survivor of a golden era when she topped the box office alongside Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks and It-girl Clara Bow. See more ideas about silent movie, silent film, old hollywood. But, as if to foreshadow the fate of countless other future Hollywood child stars, she faced the inevitable crash that followed her meteoric rise. She ran into some rough luck with her love life as well. The Mail notes how she “was held under water until she passed out in one movie. The studios closed ranks and by the age of six Baby Peggy found herself blackballed. And Baby Peggy made a pretty good dent in people's lives.". Baby Peggy lent her name and image to sweaters, jewelry, handbags and dolls. I was worth about $4million at the age of six but never earned any praise from my parents.”. Upon giving birth, Peggy receives conflicting narratives about her infant’s fate, with one doctor claiming that her baby had passed, and another claiming it was thriving. Diana Serra Cary — once known to millions as Baby Peggy during the 1920s — was photographed Feb. 3 at her home in Gustine, Calif. • Baby Peggy's Own Story Book, Diana Serra Cary, Frederick A. Stokes, 1924 “You are exploited and fame has no substance. One person found this helpful. Dec 17, 2015 - Explore Child Stars Photo Gallery's board "Baby Peggy (Diana Serra Carey)", followed by 287 people on Pinterest. Commandez Baby Peggy Little Red Riding Hood Silent Movie Film Fairytale Classic Mug | Best Gift Funny Coffee Mugs 11 Oz. “Parents are the ones, very often, who are the culprits. After Universal gave her that seven-figure payday — her reward for shooting more than 150 shorts over three years, starting when she was 20 months old — she became even more famous, dubbed Hollywood's "Million Dollar Baby." In another, she was thrown from the back of … It can be very painful and children pay the price. Diana Serra Cary, the silent movie star who was known by the nickname Baby Peggy, has died at the age of 101. “That first film was very successful so they put me under contract,” she says. “I don’t have any anger or rancour toward anyone or toward Hollywood. They bought a 14-room mansion in the Hollywood Hills, a $30,000 Duesenberg car and a ranch in Wyoming. Movie title or actors of importance if needed: Sweetie starring Baby Peggy, Jerry Mandy and Louise Lorraine. Peggy’s father demanded more and in a clash with studio bosses broke her contract. “It was important to me to do a good job and to earn the respect of my co-workers.”. He would snap his fingers, and say, ‘Cry!’ And I would cry. Helpful. And here in Hollywood — in 1924, the silent-movie capital of the world — a 4-year-old child star nicknamed Baby Peggy (real name: Peggy-Jean Montgomery) was presented with a film contract worth $1 million a picture (that's the equivalent of about $14 million today). your own Pins on Pinterest Ziegfeld ruled Broadway. Privacy Policy | Filming various movies she was accidentally thrown from a speeding truck, hit by a bicycle and nearly drowned while shooting an ocean rescue. newspaper archive. Five secretaries handled her annual haul of 1.7 million fan letters. Before Shirley Temple, she was the young queen of Hollywood, earning $1 million a year, but her movie career did not last long. The talkies had arrived, and new child stars had been born (like Shirley Temple, who later would take Peggy's part in a 1936 remake of Captain January). Terms of Use | “I had identity problems from the time I was growing up and suffered depression. In 1923, her father secured her a $1.5 million-a-year contract with independent producer Sol Lesser. Baby Peggy was not welcomed back with open arms. Thirty-six years later, Peggy’s mother reveals on her deathbed that Peggy’s baby is still alive. She was known as the Million Dollar Baby with three major movie contracts in hand at $1,000,000 a piece! Peggy did the best she could, working as an extra through her teen years. Word got out, sparking a small riot on social media, with Baby Peggy supporters bombarding the MPTF with demands that it reverse the decision. Baby Peggy was apparently the last surviving major child star of the silent era. But the 97-year-old decided to stay put. This archive dates back to 1907 and up to the late 1930s with most being 1915-1929 Silent film gold is found in many of these pieces of history. But she paid a price for fame. Inventory: Letterhead Tray #203. *By the age of 5 there were Baby Peggy dolls, jewelry, wrapping paper and all sorts of merchandise. Baby Peggy with silent star Hobart Bosworth in 1924's Captain January. I went through a five-year period that was very, very close to a nervous breakdown. But her father, who quit his career to manage Peggy, struggled with her success. It is frightening. "The only place we could go was back to Hollywood. Baby Peggy was an instant sensation, earning press, praise, fame and fortune. "He was no longer the breadwinner. Newsreels show Baby Peggy visiting Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford at their Beverly Hills mansion and socialising with stars including Harold Lloyd. For a dramatic sequence in one film the director placed her in a house and actually set it ablaze. 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