“At times I was exposed to real danger,” she recalls. ", 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. I never expected to live this long or for people to still remember me after almost a century. "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. Discover (and save!) 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. But I have no regrets.”. She remarried in 1954 to a graphic artist named Bob Cary (they have one son, Mark Cary, 55) and had "a very happy marriage" until his death in 2001. Peggy returned to Hollywood, attending school with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. "I mentioned to him that maybe we should have a child," she says. Thirty-six years later, Peggy’s mother reveals on her deathbed that Peggy’s baby is still alive. But her father, who quit his career to manage Peggy, struggled with her success. order back issues and use the historic Daily Express 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. But the 97-year-old decided to stay put. your own Pins on Pinterest My whole childhood I was exploited. *By the age of 5 there were Baby Peggy dolls, jewelry, wrapping paper and all sorts of merchandise. "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.". 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). All rights reserved. "We lived in a very autocratic home. Peggy did the best she could, working as an extra through her teen years. Baby Peggy.' Her career was just as precarious offscreen. “I had a great work ethic even as a child,” she says. Word got out, sparking a small riot on social media, with Baby Peggy supporters bombarding the MPTF with demands that it reverse the decision. 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 contract worth $1 million a picture (that's the equivalent of about $14 million today). She only wishes the memories of her glory days were happier. Little consideration appears to have been shown for her safety while shooting. It can be very painful and children pay the price. 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. Baby Peggy lent her name and image to sweaters, jewelry, handbags and dolls. Diana Serra Cary, the silent movie star who was known by the nickname Baby Peggy, has died at the age of 101. She was born Peggy-Jean Montgomery in 1918 in San Diego, California, of acting stock. Even when it was happening I realised it was nobody’s fault but you get hurt in spite of that.”. I was very outgoing and I could take the discipline without being cowed.”. Excellent Doc by Diana Serra Cary (Baby Peggy). Potential hazards were, sadly, second nature to the young star. See more ideas about serra, silent movie, silent film. Commandez Baby Peggy Little Red Riding Hood Silent Movie Film Fairytale Classic Mug | Best Gift Funny Coffee Mugs 11 Oz. “I don’t have any anger or rancour toward anyone or toward Hollywood. | Do Not Sell My Personal Information Certainly it was an identity crisis. At the age of four she graduated to full-length silent feature films including The Darling Of New York, Captain January and Family Secret. Sep 6, 2012 - Baby Peggy smokes-Decaying Hollywood Mansion's It is frightening. The talkies had arrived, and new child stars had been born (like Shirley Temple, who later would take Peggy's part in a 1936 remake of Captain January). Before long, Baby Peggy was headlining in full-length silent features such as Darling of New York, Captain January and Family Secret. Peggy did not attend school until she was 12 and there were no work safety laws protecting children. "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. "Child stars were important in those days. And she urges parents not to put their children in movies. Five secretaries handled her annual haul of 1.7 million fan letters. Comment Report abuse. My, how you’ve changed.”. Her authoritarian father Jack, a cowboy-turned-stunt double for western star Tom Mix, directed Peggy’s performances like an animal trainer, barking commands. Winning a $1million movie deal at four – worth $14million at today’s prices – her parents began spending lavishly. Filming various movies she was accidentally thrown from a speeding truck, hit by a bicycle and nearly drowned while shooting an ocean rescue. Privacy Policy | She became a writer, penning books about early Hollywood and her memoir Whatever Happened To Baby Peggy? What she really wanted to do was write, and she has had some success with that over the years. Express. "Never was there a mention that we would be adults someday and would have to decide what to do with our lives." | California Privacy Rights "He said, 'God, no, if you had a baby, there would be no Baby Peggy anymore.' "I'm always telling him to discourage her. 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 ... a movie extra. 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 … In 2013, TCM produced a documentary about her, The Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room (Vera Iwerebor), which was released on DVD along with a selection of her films. "Not my cup of tea," she says repeatedly. Diana Serra Cary, the silent movie star who was known by the nickname Baby Peggy, has died at the age of 101. Home of the Daily and Sunday Express. 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. Like Peggy-Jean (as her parents called her), Hollywood was in its infancy, but even then, the town had a knack for spotting talent. 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 ****. The door she was supposed to escape through burst into flames and she had to scramble through a burning window to survive. I was worth about $4million at the age of six but never earned any praise from my parents.”. Unless you have good connections and start off early.". See today's front and back pages, download the newspaper, This is unsurprising, given the gulf between the infant who was onscreen in the 1920s and the elderly woman who looks back at her from the 21st Century. Their son Mark, aged 54, helps care for her now. She penned a 1996 memoir, Whatever Happened to Baby Peggy?, as well as a biography of fellow child star Jackie Cooper, and further satisfied her love of literature by working for 20-plus years as a trade book buyer for the University of California in San Diego. Yet by the age of seven she was washed up, her fortune squandered by her family and she slipped into anonymity – until now. "The only place we could go was back to Hollywood. Ouvrages [modifier | modifier le code] (en-US) What Ever Happened to Baby Peggy: The Autobiography of Hollywood's Pioneer Child Star, Diana Serra Cary, St. Martins Press, 1996, (ISBN 0-312-14760-0) (en-US) The Hollywood Posse: The Story of a Gallant Band of Horsemen Who Made Movie History, Diana Serra Cary, University of Oklahoma Press, 1996, (ISBN 0-8061-2835-6) As Baby Peggy, Cary made 150 films by 5 years old – though the vast majority were tragically destroyed in a company fire. The last place she wanted to go was back to Hollywood. • Baby Peggy's Own Story Book, Diana Serra Cary, Frederick A. Stokes, 1924 Baby Peggy’s and my own failure to get on my feet.”. ", Peggy also had an unusually expressive face, matched with a distinctive bob haircut with short bangs, a look that caught the eye of a director at Century Studios (located on a then-sleepy strip known as Sunset Boulevard).