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Everybody make way for one of Hollywood’s brightest stars of the 1920s: Mary Pickford. Back then, you knew you hit the big time when they started naming cocktails after you. This classic of the Caribbean might seem very sweet based on its ingredients, but it actually packs a surprising punch.
Before we talk about Mary herself, let’s look into the origin of her namesake cocktail. Credit for its creation goes to one of two American bartenders, both based in Havana during Prohibition: Fred Kaufman and Eddie Woelke. Whichever barman it was, legend claims they made it for Mary Pickford while she was filming a movie with her husband, Douglas Fairbanks, and their friend, Charlie Chaplin.
A little investigation shows this tale to be full of holes. Pickford and Fairbanks never made a film in Cuba together during their marriage. Chaplin also wasn’t known to ever have traveled with the couple. Mary did make some silent films in Cuba a decade earlier, but the Canadian-born star detested the humidity and its effect on her signature locks. This was also about fifteen years before the first recorded mention of her cocktail. This Havana cocktail (one of two on our menu!) was named after “the Girl with the Curls” from afar, it seems.
Mary Pickford is one of the most influential pioneers of early film history. In 1909, her first year in pictures, she appeared in 43 released silent films. Over the next decade, she defined the young and innocent archetype of the ingénue. By 1919, she had the wealth and influence to start her own production company, United Artists, alongside Fairbanks, Chaplin, and director D.W. Griffiths. This afforded the group the creative freedom in producing their own films like Coquette (1929), City Lights (1931), and The Great Dictator (1941). Since then, United Artists has been hard at work, producing or distributing films like West Side Story (1961), Rocky (1976), and The Birdcage (1996).
Mary Pickford is one of the most influential pioneers of early film history. In 1909, her first year in pictures, she appeared in 43 released silent films.
In 1927, she was one of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Similarly to many silent film stars, Pickford’s career took hit at the advent of the talkie, but her starring role (and first in a sound film) in Coquette (1929) earned her the second-ever Academy Award for Best Actress. After a few rough releases, she retired from acting in film in 1933, but continued to produce movies behind the scenes. Towards the end of her life, the Academy she founded presented her the Academy Honorary Award in 1976, recognizing her immense contributions to the industry.
Whether it’s onscreen or in a coupe glass, Mary Pickford is a star to be remembered.