Lottie Pickford (born Charlotte Smith, June 9, 1893 – December 9, 1936) was a Canadian-born silent film actress and socialite. She was the sister of fellow actress Mary Pickford and actor Jack Pickford.
June 9, 1893
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Died||December 9, 1936
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale|
|Other names||Lottie Pickford Forrest|
(m. 1915; div. 1920)
(m. 1922; div. 1928)
Russel O. Gillard
(m. 1929; div. 1933)
John William Lock
(m. 1933; her death 1936)
|Parent(s)||John Charles Smith
|Relatives||Mary Pickford (sister)
Jack Pickford (brother)
One of her best known roles was in The Diamond from the Sky directed by William Desmond Taylor in 1915. Pickford's career is often overshadowed by that of her siblings and though she was a notable figure in the 1920s, her films and role in the Pickford acting family is now largely forgotten.
She was born to John Charles Smith and Charlotte Hennessy. Pickford was named for her mother. She was the middle child, born a year and two months after her sister Gladys Smith and three years before her brother John Charles Smith, called Jack. She quickly became her father's favorite, much to her sister's annoyance. After mistakenly believing she was a boy when first born, her father lovingly gave her the boyish nickname, 'Chuckie'.
Pickford's father left the family while she was young, and her sister Gladys took on responsibilities. Lottie and Jack became extremely close, banding together against Gladys, whom they saw as strict. Lottie idolized her brother Jack, and they remained close throughout their lifetimes. Despite her tense relationship with her sister, Lottie was protective of her, and once jumped on D.W. Griffith to defend her sister during a heated argument with the director.
In need of extra income, the family began to act. On January 8, 1900, Gladys and Lottie appeared in The Silver King. Lottie was either offered a lesser sum than her sister or was part of a packaged deal. The family eventually moved to New York City where they all acted in various productions, sometimes together, sometimes not. At one point Lottie and Gladys had to travel on their own for one production.
Of the family, Gladys was the breakout star. Her family members were usually attached to her as a contractual stipulation. After she started in films, Gladys took the name Mary Pickford. Lottie and Jack also took on the surname Pickford in their acting careers. Mary was influential in getting her siblings on the payroll after she started acting in films.
In 1907, Mary adopted the stage name 'Mary Pickford'. The rest of the family adopted the Pickford name by the time they began appearing in films. Mary signed with D.W. Griffith's Biograph Company in 1909 and also secured work for her siblings.
Between 1909 and 1910, Mary made eighty shorts, Jack made twenty-eight, and Lottie made twenty-five. Of the three Pickfords, Lottie's talents were considered the weakest. Actress Linda Arvidson said Mary had decided her sister was not pretty enough for films, and had done her best to keep her away from Biograph. When the Biograph Company departed for California, Lottie Pickford and her mother were left behind. She would eventually join her sister in California.
Away from her elder sister, Pickford's first starring role came in 1914 in The House of Bondage. It was a vice film, with Pickford playing a prostitute, in stark contrast to her sister's image as "America's Sweetheart". The film did not receive good reviews, being considered too crude. In 1915, Pickford appeared in Fanchon, the Cricket, opposite both her siblings. It is the only film in which all three Pickford siblings appear. It was thought lost until rediscovered in the 20th century at the British Film Institute.
Pickford starred in The Diamond from the Sky serial (1915) although, to her humiliation, she was only given the role after Mary turned it down. A Photoplay article from around the time of the release declared her "Pickford The Second!" and compared her to her sister, albeit as a worthy sequel. The serial was jeopardized when she became pregnant. This incident put her on the unofficial Hollywood blacklist for a short time. Pickford performed in only five roles between 1915 and 1918, when she took a break from acting.
After divorcing her first husband, Pickford next starred in 1921's They Shall Pay which co-starred Allan Forrest, her future husband. Pickford again took several years' time off from acting before returning in a minor role in the 1924 film Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall. Her final role was opposite her brother-in-law Douglas Fairbanks Sr. in Don Q Son of Zorro in 1925. During her career, Pickford starred in eight features, while her brother starred in over forty features.
Pickford was a socialite and partying was her first love. She and her brother Jack both struggled with alcoholism. Her parties were legendary and lasted until morning; drugs and alcohol were plentiful, as was nudity. Pickford's maid recalled that when they heard Mary's car pulling in, Pickford and her friends would "Jump into their knickers!" Despite her reputation as a party girl, Pickford was considered to be down to earth, friendly, sweet, and unpretentious.
On an unknown date in 1915, before the release of The Diamond from the Sky, Pickford quietly married New York broker Alfred Rupp. The couple had a daughter in 1915, Mary Pickford Rupp (1915-1984),who would be later renamed Gwynne Rupp). The couple separated in 1919 and divorced the following year. For unknown reasons, Pickford allowed her mother Charlotte to legally adopt her daughter, who was renamed Gwynne in 1920. Pickford did not comment to the press on the matter, other than to say she would never marry again. Gwynne lived with her grandmother until Charlotte, Sr.'s death in 1928. At that time, Gwynne's aunt Mary Pickford took custody of her. This arrangement lasted until Gwynne married radio announcer Hugh "Bud" Ernst in June 1939.
Lottie Pickford did marry again, to actor Allan Forrest in January 1922. She obtained a divorce from Forrest in Paris in 1927. On July 22, 1929, she married Russel O. Gillard, an undertaker from Los Angeles. They divorced in February 1933 on charges of "extreme cruelty" by her husband. Later that year, Pickford married a Pittsburgh society man named John William Lock. They remained married until her early death in 1936.
On December 6, 1936, Pickford suffered a heart attack at the age of 43. She was said to have been in failing health for three years, related to alcohol abuse. She died at her home in Beverly Hills. Her funeral was held on December 13 at Wee Kirk o' the Heather Church in Glendale, California. She is buried in the Pickford family plot in Forest Lawn Cemetery.
|1909||Two Memories||Short film|
|1909||The Faded Lilies||Short film|
|1909||The Necklace||Short film|
|1909||The Cardinal's Conspiracy||The Princess' Servant (unconfirmed)||Short film|
|1909||Tender Hearts||Nellie's Friend||Short film|
|1909||The Slave||A Dancer||Short film|
|1909||A Strange Meeting||At Party||Short film|
|1909||The Better Way||Puritan||Short film|
|1909||The Indian Runner's Romance||Indian (unconfirmed)||Short film|
|1909||The Little Darling||Short film|
|1909||The Hessian Renegades||Short film|
|1909||Getting Even||Short film|
|1909||The Broken Locket||Short film|
|1909||His Lost Love||Short film|
|1909||What's Your Hurry?||Short film|
|1909||The Light That Came||Short film|
|1909||In the Window Recess||Short film|
|1909||Through the Breakers||At the Ball||Short film|
|1909||The Red Man's View||Minnewanna||Short film|
|1909||The Test||A Maid (unconfirmed)||Short film|
|1909||To Save Her Soul||Short film|
|1910||The Woman from Mellon's||Young Woman (unconfirmed)||Short film|
|1910||The Newlyweds||Short film|
|1910||The Smoker||Short film|
|1910||The Tenderfoot's Triumph||Short film|
|1910||A Knot in the Plot||Short film|
|1910||A Victim of Jealousy||Short film|
|1910||Serious Sixteen||Short film|
|1910||The Call to Arms||Short film|
|1910||Unexpected Help||Short film|
|1910||The Affair of an Egg||Short film|
|1910||A Summer Idyll||Short film|
|1910||The Oath and the Man||Short film|
|1910||Examination Day at School||Short film|
|1910||A Gold Necklace||Nellie||Short film|
|1910||The Broken Doll||Townswoman||Short film|
|1910||Two Little Waifs||Short film|
|1910||Simple Charity||In hallway||Short film|
|1910||A Plain Song||Storemate||Short film|
|1910||A Child's Stratagem||Short film|
|1910||Happy Jack, a Hero||A hero||Short film|
|1910||The Golden Supper||Flower girl||Short film|
|1910||His Sister-In-Law||Eva||Short film|
|1910||White Roses||At party||Short film|
|1911||The Two Paths||At party||Short film|
|1911||The Italian Barber||At ball||Short film|
|1911||The Midnight Marauder||Mrs. Henry Blowhard||Short film|
|1911||Help Wanted||In Corridor||Short film|
|1911||His Trust||Woman at farewell||Short film|
|1911||The Dream||Short film
|1911||Fate's Turning||Short film|
|1911||A Wreath of Orange Blossoms||Short film|
|1911||Three Sisters||At Dancing Academy||Short film|
|1911||Sweet Memories||Young Lettie Terrell||Short film|
|1911||The Lighthouse Keeper||Wedding Guest||Short film
|1911||The Toss of a Coin||Short film|
|1911||Who's Who||Georgia||Short film|
|1911||The Courting of Mary||Short film|
|1911||Love at Gloucester Port||Alice Newall||Short film|
|1911||Little Red Riding Hood||Short film|
|1912||Love Finds the Way||Margaret Durand - Jack's Sweetheart||Short film|
|1912||The Belle of New Orleans||Short film|
|1912||A Mardi Gras Mix-Up||Paul's wife||Short film|
|1912||The Pilgrimage||Gretchen||Short film|
|1912||A Beast at Bay||Unconfirmed role||Short film|
|1912||Into the Jungle||Mary||Short film|
|1912||The Girl Strikers||Short film|
|1912||Lena and the Geese||Short film|
|1912||Love's Diary||Kate Morgan - the Stenographer||Short film|
|1912||A Child's Remorse||Short film|
|1913||When a Girl Loves||Betty||Short film|
|1913||For Old Time's Sake||Short film|
|1914||The House of Bondage||Mary Denbigh|
|1915||The Diamond from the Sky||Esther Stanley, the Gypsy Heroine||Lost film|
|1915||Fanchon, the Cricket||Madelon|
|1916||The Reward of Patience||Edith Penfield|
|1917||On the Level||Eleanore Duke|
|1918||Mile-a-Minute Kendall||Rosalynde d'Aubre|
|1918||The Man from Funeral Range||Dixie|
|1921||They Shall Pay||Margaret Seldon|
|1924||Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall||Jennie Faxton||Credited as Lottie Pickford Forrest|
|1925||Don Q, Son of Zorro||Lola||Credited as Lottie Pickford Forrest|
- (Whitfield 1997, p. 8)
- (Whitfield 1997, p. 14)
- (Whitfield 1997, p. 18)
- (Whitfield 1997, p. 42)
- (Whitfield 1997, pp. 95–96)
- (Whitfield 1997, p. 22)
- (Whitfield 1997, p. 62)
- (Whitfield 1997, p. 82)
- (Whitfield 1997, p. 89)
- (Whitfield 1997, p. 110)
- (Whitfield 1997, p. 171)
- Cade, Mary Ann. "The Lost Film Files". silentsaregolden.com. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- (Whitfield 1997, p. 172)
- (Whitfield 1997, p. 240)
- (Whitfield 1997, p. 305)
- (Whitfield 1997, p. 222)
- (Whitfield 1997, p. 188)
- "Niece of Mary Pickford Weds Radio Announcer". Ottawa Citizen. June 1, 1939. p. 23. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- "Lottie Pickford To Wed For Second Time Tonight". The Baltimore Sun. January 7, 1922. p. 2.
- "Lottie Pickford Divorced". Reading Eagle. February 16, 1928. p. 4. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- "Lottie Pickford on Third Honeymoon". Berkeley Daily Gazette. July 24, 1929. p. 7. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- "Lottie Pickford Obtains Divorce". The New York Times. February 17, 1933.
- "Mary's Sister Is Given Divorce". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 17 February 1933. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
- "Lottie Pickford Dies After Lengthy Illness". The Evening Independent. December 10, 1936. p. 1. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- "ASSOCIATES AT RITES FOR LOTTIE PICKFORD; More Than 150 Friends Gather at Wee Kirk o' the Heather for Funeral in Hollywood". The New York Times. December 13, 1936.
- (Whitfield 1997, pp. 305–307)