The First Movie Stars

The First Movie StarsThe film industry is relatively young, really only getting going in the early 1900s. Despite this youth, major movie stars arose almost as soon as there were audiences to fill seats. By the 1910s, Hollywood was already pumping out household names.

Florence Lawrence

Born in Ontario, Lawrence began performing on the vaudeville stage with her mother at the young age of three. In 1906, she was cast in her first movie role because she knew how to ride a horse. From there, the rest is history. She is now recognized as the first movie star and went on to appear in over 300 films during her lifetime.

Mary Pickford

Around this same time emerged Mary Pickford, born Gladys Louise Smith. Awarded the second ever Academy Award in 1929, she did much to set up the Hollywood we know today, including acting as co-founder of United Artists and as one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

King Baggot

King Baggot carries the title of the first male lead America celebrated even though he would evolve to become a popular name across the globe. Like Lawrence, he would appear in over 300 movies, but unlike Lawrence, he dabbled in screenwriting and directing during his time in Hollywood.

Judy Garland

With the influx of sound, many silent film actors felt themselves unable to keep up. It was in this vacuum of power that Garland entered and stole the world’s heart. Trained in the vaudevillian arts like so many early film stars, she was unique in that she had a contralto voice unlike any other. Able to dance, sing and act, Garland remained a prominent Hollywood figure until her death at the young age of 47.

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