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“I had a great work ethic even as a child,” she says. Hollywood discovered Peggy-Jean Montgomery when she was 19 months old and made her a star by the age of two. “At times I was exposed to real danger,” she recalls. "I'm always telling him to discourage her. 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. Peggy did not attend school until she was 12 and there were no work safety laws protecting children. “You are exploited and fame has no substance. 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). 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. I never expected to live this long or for people to still remember me after almost a century. They bought a 14-room mansion in the Hollywood Hills, a $30,000 Duesenberg car and a ranch in Wyoming. • Baby Peggy's Own Story Book, Diana Serra Cary, Frederick A. Stokes, 1924 ". Yet the studios made her life seem glamorous. Diana Serra Cary, the silent movie star who was known by the nickname Baby Peggy, has died at the age of 101. All he heard was, 'Mr. “They said I was fearless, which was not true.”. She was born Peggy-Jean Montgomery in 1918 in San Diego, California, of acting stock. ", 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. She became a writer, penning books about early Hollywood and her memoir Whatever Happened To Baby Peggy? 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. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe. As Baby Peggy, Cary made 150 films by 5 years old – though the vast majority were tragically destroyed in a company fire. 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. She only wishes the memories of her glory days were happier. Baby Peggy, Actress: Captain January. The Motion Picture & Television Fund Country Home, which initially rejected Baby Peggy's request for in-home help. "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. Movie title or actors of importance if needed: Sweetie starring Baby Peggy, Jerry Mandy and Louise Lorraine. 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. What she really wanted to do was write, and she has had some success with that over the years. “I had identity problems from the time I was growing up and suffered depression. 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! "The only place we could go was back to Hollywood. 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. *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). In another, she was thrown from the back of … Nobody knew who I was. And Baby Peggy made a pretty good dent in people's lives.". Peggy fled to vaudeville performing four shows daily for $2,000 a week until 1928. 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 … The door she was supposed to escape through burst into flames and she had to scramble through a burning window to survive. 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. Like Peggy-Jean (as her parents called her), Hollywood was in its infancy, but even then, the town had a knack for spotting talent. Fans bought her signature dolls, jewellery, canned peaches, sheet music and even her own brand of milk. At the age of four she graduated to full-length silent feature films including The Darling Of New York, Captain January and Family Secret. Baby Peggy was apparently the last surviving major child star of the silent era. And Baby Peggy made a pretty good dent in people’s lives. They were divorced in 1948. At the time of her death, she was the last living film star of the Silent Era of Hollywood. DW. Diana Serra Cary, the silent movie star who was known by the nickname Baby Peggy, has died at the age of 101. 5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent memoir and biography. Baby Peggy with silent star Hobart Bosworth in 1924's Captain January. "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. order back issues and use the historic Daily Express I was worth about $4million at the age of six but never earned any praise from my parents.”. But the 97-year-old decided to stay put. © 2021 The Hollywood Reporter, LLC. Dec 17, 2015 - Explore Child Stars Photo Gallery's board "Baby Peggy (Diana Serra Carey)", followed by 287 people on Pinterest. Comment Report abuse. I assumed that all children worked to support their families. One person found this helpful. Little consideration appears to have been shown for her safety while shooting. Diana Serra Cary, once known as silent film star Baby Peggy, has died at 101. Before long, Baby Peggy was headlining in full-length silent features such as Darling of New York, Captain January and Family Secret. I never had friends or played with other children. Baby Peggy.' She was just 20 months old. 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. Born Peggy Jean Montgomery in San Diego, Cary first appeared on film at 19 months, and eventually commanded $1 million per movie. See today's front and back pages, download the newspaper, "We were never wealthy, but he was a good man, a fine person," she says. Filming various movies she was accidentally thrown from a speeding truck, hit by a bicycle and nearly drowned while shooting an ocean rescue. *By the age of 5 there were Baby Peggy dolls, jewelry, wrapping paper and all sorts of merchandise. "They did some silly things," she says, "but they didn't do them viciously." Sitemap | Certainly it was an identity crisis. For a dramatic sequence in one film the director placed her in a house and actually set it ablaze. “I lived with failure. 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." Her career was just as precarious offscreen. "I mentioned to him that maybe we should have a child," she says. But her family spent extravagantly, especially her … your own Pins on Pinterest Baby Peggy demonstrated her precocious comic talents in a still from the 1920s. Word got out, sparking a small riot on social media, with Baby Peggy supporters bombarding the MPTF with demands that it reverse the decision. "He was no longer the breadwinner. Potential hazards were, sadly, second nature to the young star. She wed Gordon Ayers in 1938, divorcing after 10 years, and in 1954 married artist Bob Cary, her husband until his death in 2001. Diana Serra Cary, the child silent film star known by the nickname Baby Peggy, died on Monday in Gustine, Calif. She was 101. Peggy’s father demanded more and in a clash with studio bosses broke her contract. AdChoices Even when it was happening I realised it was nobody’s fault but you get hurt in spite of that.”. Her contemporary was Jackie Coogan, the well-known child star, … 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. 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. " 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. Five secretaries handled her annual haul of 1.7 million fan letters. Baby Peggy, the last of the silent movie stars SHE was Hollywood’s original Million-Dollar Baby. They want the child on the screen, they want money, they want fame, they want reflective glory. "Never was there a mention that we would be adults someday and would have to decide what to do with our lives." Boy, did she ever. Apr 13, 2016 - Explore classicmovieblg's board "Baby Peggy", followed by 254 people on Pinterest. "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.". “The talkies killed vaudeville,” she says. Winning a $1million movie deal at four – worth $14million at today’s prices – her parents began spending lavishly. | Do Not Sell My Personal Information She filmed more than 150 two-reeler short films before she turned four, playing detectives, reporters, beggars, bellboys, movie stars, matadors and Mounties. Inventory: Letterhead Tray #203. I went through a five-year period that was very, very close to a nervous breakdown. The family’s business adviser ran off with their fortune and she was suddenly broke. 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. 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). He would snap his fingers, and say, ‘Cry!’ And I would cry. "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. 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 ****. Terms of Use | 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. Baby Piggy, along with Kermit and Gonzo, made a special appearance in Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue. There is no future in it. “That first film was very successful so they put me under contract,” she says. Discover (and save!) Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights. “It was important to me to do a good job and to earn the respect of my co-workers.”. Diana Serra Cary — once known to millions as Baby Peggy during the 1920s — was photographed Feb. 3 at her home in Gustine, Calif. Trying to shed her troubled past Peggy changed her name to Diana Serra Cary. My, how you’ve changed.”. Ziegfeld ruled Broadway. 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. Calvin Coolidge was in the White House. Yet by the age of seven she was washed up, her fortune squandered by her family and she slipped into anonymity – until now. "We didn't have a democracy in our home," she explains. The last place she wanted to go was back to Hollywood. Express. Buy 'Baby Peggy LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD silent movie film fairytale' by Love30smovies as a Sleeveless Top “It wasn’t fun and it was hard work with its ups and downs. For the next few years, Peggy supported her family by touring with vaudeville acts, even then a dying art form. 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. Peggy returned to Hollywood, attending school with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. 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. “Sit” meant SIT! I was very outgoing and I could take the discipline without being cowed.”. newspaper archive. 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. Peggy did the best she could, working as an extra through her teen years. Working conditions for child actors during the 1920s were horrific. 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 She was chosen as the Democratic Party mascot and shared the convention stage with future US president Franklin D Roosevelt. THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER is a registered trademark of The Hollywood Reporter, LLC. Before Shirley Temple, she was the young queen of Hollywood, earning $1 million a year, but her movie career did not last long. Her father grew bitter over his daughter's success, and Peggy's family life deteriorated despite the fortune she was hauling in. Like the adult Miss Piggy, she often refers to herself as "moi," and when excited she usually says "Yippee-skippee!" It was just a job. 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. This story first appeared in the March 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Don’t put the child in the big arena. "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). "They thought it was endless. Baby Peggy was very powerful. "There was never any plan for us to be adults," she says. 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