We open our Summer 2021 series of Tuesday Talks with “Mary Pickford: The World’s First Major Movie Star.” The visual presentation that will follow the romance and rags-to-riches triumph of this plucky silent film heroine will be made by producer/writer Michelle Cohen on Tuesday, June 8 at 4:00 pm on Zoom.
Cohen will explore Mary’s rise to fame from a penniless pioneer in a new medium to an astute businesswoman and actress (who by 1916, was earning $10,000 a WEEK!), and how her complex relationships with Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith ultimately resulted in the formation of the United Artists film studio.
Mary’s affair that turned into a fairy-tale marriage to action star Douglas Fairbanks was the first epic romance to make major headlines. As Hollywood’s first royal couple they presided as hosts to movie industry stars and moguls, presidents and real royalty at their legendary home, Pickfair.
As an actress, her work defined film acting. For many years, she remained the nation’s biggest box-office draw. As a producer, she set standards for quality that placed her films among the best of the era. As a pioneer of the film industry, she helped shape the trade through precedent-setting contracts, foundation of the Academy, as well as a little-known event now called the Oscars.
Mary’s personal and business decisions made over a century ago still influence Hollywood’s business and celebrity machine today. And all this before women had the right to vote.
A multi-faceted writer, director, performer and producer, Cohen and her varied projects have been featured on programs including CNN, “Good Morning America” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
Most recently, Cohen was instrumental in bringing Jeff Corey’s memoir, Improvising Out Loud: My Life Teaching Hollywood How to Act to print, with an introduction by his former student, Leonard Nimoy and art work by Jack Nicholson. Cohen was the consultant and wrangler for the character Pierre the Mime’s appearances on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and the Performance and Wellness Supervisor on the feature film Lust Life Love.
Michelle produced the off-Broadway mega-hit, Schoolhouse Rock Live! She also served as an adjunct faculty member at several acting schools, including NYU and was a guest speaker for UCLA’s MFA Acting Program.
Her published books include Of Course You Can Sing!, Downloads from the Universe, Actually There Is Something under the Bed and MenOpop, a Menopause Pop-up and Activity Book.
The admission is $20 per person and is available on Zoom only. To order visit https://ventfort06082021.eventbrite.com The Summer 2021 series of Tuesday Talks are sponsored by Ventfort Hall board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.