Began acting as a child to help support her mother and siblings.
At age 15, moved on her own from Toronto to New York to work in theater, and changed name from Gladys Smith.
In 1909, acted in more than 40 short films that played in nickelodeons, which led to a collaboration with director D.W. Griffith spanning more than 125 movies.
Although born in Canada, was known as "America's Sweetheart."
An astute businesswoman, negotiated higher salaries and ultimately built a self-named studio to make her own films allowing her to share in the profits.
Formed United Artists with Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin in 1919.
One of the founding members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1927.
Won an Academy Award in 1928 for her first talking picture, Coquette.
Made more than 200 films before retiring from acting in 1933.
Once known for throwing lavish parties, became reclusive in later years and found solace in her mansion called Pickfair, combining her name with Fairbanks. (She was sole owner as part of her divorce settlement.) No longer standing, the legendary estate was the first one of its size built in Beverly Hills.
Was asked by director Billy Wilder to play the role of Norma Desmond in the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard.
The Mary Pickford Institute, located in Los Angeles, is an organization founded in 2003 to honor the actress's career and, through its research library, offer students educational support in expressing their voices through film, video and digital media.