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The Last Living Silent Star


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Calvin Coolidge was in the White House. F. Scott Fitzgerald was writing The Great Gatsby. Ziegfeld ruled Broadway. 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).

 

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. "Child stars were important in those days. And Baby Peggy made a pretty good dent in people's lives."

 

Read more on Hollywood Reporter:

 

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/last-living-silent-star-child-871602

 

 

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Thanks for sharing this Jake.

 

A lot of child stars were controlled by their parents who took away their fortune or refused to allow them to quit acting. 

 

Fellow silent screen baby Dickie Moore died last year.

 

There used to be a hospital for retired and poor actors and actresses to have all their medical expenses paid for by fellow actors.  But I hear it is closing due to lack of funds. 

 

Deforest Kelley (Dr. McCoy) died there.

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I love it when people make one word troll-like statements about people they don't like without saying why the first time I read  a message by them.  Then I know to put them on ignore without wasting any more time.

 

 

Time and resources are far too precious to spend it wasting your time reading comments like the one I just read.

 

I have  seen Baby Peggy in Fragments. 

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Thanks for sharing this Jake.

 

A lot of child stars were controlled by their parents who took away their fortune or refused to allow them to quit acting. 

 

Fellow silent screen baby Dickie Moore died last year.

 

There used to be a hospital for retired and poor actors and actresses to have all their medical expenses paid for by fellow actors.  But I hear it is closing due to lack of funds. 

 

Deforest Kelley (Dr. McCoy) died there.

 

For all the liberal statements many of stars make about the rich conservatives not taking care of their fellow man this is such a contradiction and a shame.

 

Get on it SAG

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For all the liberal statements many of stars make about the rich conservatives not taking care of their fellow man this is such a contradiction and a shame.

 

Get on is SAG

 

What other professions should be responsible for taking care of fellow members of said profession?    I know the NFL's player union has increased the sum current players have to give annually to assist retired players but I can't think of any other profession that does this.  

 

(of course there are pension systems but today these are mostly limited to government workers (teachers, police, etc...).    

Edited by jamesjazzguitar
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It can be difficult to really understand the importance of a star in their heyday. When a star was burning hot, they often paid all the bills for their studio. Their faces and voice were everywhere. 

 

And just like that, their flame would flicker out just as quickly. often all the way to destitution. Or having to find another occupation. You wonder why they couldn't get any work at all after a time. Then you read stories about "box office poison" and I guess studios just got superstitious.  

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Well, my mother wasn't in the movies, but she shares the same birth date as Baby Peggy:  October 29, 1918. God willing, she will turn 98 this year. Until a fall sidelined her the day after her 96th birthday, she drove and went to the Y three times a week and worked out on the treadmill. She flies up to Wisconsin 3 or 4 times a year (she's here with us now) and stays for 3-7 weeks, giving my sister and brother-in-law a break. I hope Baby Peggy is doing as well as could be expected for her age!

 

BLU

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bundie your Mom sounds like a treasure, as is Baby Peggy. TCM showed a couple of her films last year I believe. I certainly enjoyed them.

 

The reason why there was an "Actor's Home" is because actors, like many types of artists (dancers, singers, visual artists) didn't have the same opportunities "regular" jobs offered, like security via health insurance, pensions, etc.

Like sports, successful artists are often compensated with huge salaries since work is often sporadic. Many never make it to that level and live hand to mouth. It's a tough business.

 

Sadly, the entire US economy has been slowly working it's way towards this model. Even government jobs, formerly the most secure are becoming "subcontracted" just to avoid paying workers health care & pensions.

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bundie your Mom sounds like a treasure, as is Baby Peggy. TCM showed a couple of her films last year I believe. I certainly enjoyed them.

 

The reason why there was an "Actor's Home" is because actors, like many types of artists (dancers, singers, visual artists) didn't have the same opportunities "regular" jobs offered, like security via health insurance, pensions, etc.

Like sports, successful artists are often compensated with huge salaries since work is often sporadic. Many never make it to that level and live hand to mouth. It's a tough business.

 

Sadly, the entire US economy has been slowly working it's way towards this model. Even government jobs, formerly the most secure are becoming "subcontracted" just to avoid paying workers health care & pensions.

 

So today's actors don't have to give 14% to the Feds for social security (up to the cap) like any independent contractor?    I know I had to pony up when I didn't have a 'regular' job and worked as an independent contractor.

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What other professions should be responsible for taking care of fellow members of said profession?    I know the NFL's player union has increased the sum current players have to give annually to assist retired players but I can't think of any other profession that does this.  

 

(of course there are pension systems but today these are mostly limited to government workers (teachers, police, etc...).    

 

Just fill in the blanks that fit the rest of the sentences and I guess you'll have your answer James

 

For all the liberal statements many of __________ make about the rich conservatives not taking care of their fellow man this is such a contradiction and a shame.

 

Get on it _________

 

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Just fill in the blanks that fit the rest of the sentences and I guess you'll have your answer James

 

 

 

 

I think everyone should have to pay into the Social Security system (as an employee or independent contractor),  and therefore they will get a SS check with they retire.   Also since heath insurance is mandate and there is Medicare elderly folks should have some form of health insurance coverage.   

 

I just don't agree that anyone in a profession should be quilted into providing support for those that use to be in their profession.

 

As for actors making large sums and then struggling to find work as an actor;  Have you been to San Jose?    They can go pump gas!

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I think everyone should have to pay into the Social Security system (as an employee or independent contractor),  and therefore they will get a SS check with they retire.   Also since heath insurance is mandate and there is Medicare elderly folks should have some form of health insurance coverage.   

 

I just don't agree that anyone in a profession should be quilted into providing support for those that use to be in their profession.

 

As for actors making large sums and then struggling to find work as an actor;  Have you been to San Jose?    They can go pump gas!

 

James,

 

I just made a sarcastic comment about a very specific group of very vocal people not putting their money where their mouth is.

 

I don't expect any profession to support all prior workers in that profession or any other group of people ... hence my comment about the contradiction of a specific very vocal group.  (and I don't include all actors in that statement).

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Before this thread gets derailed into what has nothing at all to do with Baby Peggy, I want to mention this.  Read it carefully so I am not misunderstood and this ends up being a political thread that should be in the off topic section:

 

 

THE ACTING INDUSTRY USED TO HAVE A HOSPITAL THAT WAS FUNDED ENTIRLY BY OTHER ACTORS TO MAKE SURE THAT POOR ACTORS LIKE DEFOREST KELLEY COULD PAY THEIR MEDICAL EXPENSES WHEN THEY WERE DYING.  IT WAS FUNDED BY OTHER ACTORS AND NOT BY THE GENERAL PUBLIC. DUE TO LACK OF FUNDS, IT HAS CLOSED.  THAT IS WHY I MENTIONED THIS AS BABY PEGGY HAS SOME MEDICAL ISSUES AND SHE MADE LOTS OF MONEY FOR HER STUDIO.

 

I live in Canada where there is public medicine, so  do not have to worry about this.  This is still on topic of acting, because Keifer Sutherland`s grandfather on his mother`s side was Tommy Douglas who is the father of Canadian public health care and he uses his fame as an actor to try to keep that alive.

 

 

 

NOW BACK TO BABY PEGGY:

 

Has anyone seen her films outside of the fragments in Fragments....

 

I have not been able to find any of her movies.

 

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bundie your Mom sounds like a treasure, as is Baby Peggy. TCM showed a couple of her films last year I believe. I certainly enjoyed them.

 

The reason why there was an "Actor's Home" is because actors, like many types of artists (dancers, singers, visual artists) didn't have the same opportunities "regular" jobs offered, like security via health insurance, pensions, etc.

Like sports, successful artists are often compensated with huge salaries since work is often sporadic. Many never make it to that level and live hand to mouth. It's a tough business.

 

Sadly, the entire US economy has been slowly working it's way towards this model. Even government jobs, formerly the most secure are becoming "subcontracted" just to avoid paying workers health care & pensions.

Not just government jobs.  Many of the jobs that the Republican governors brag about creating when a huge corporation comes into their states aren't real.  Huge number are contract employees.  No security, very low benefits and very low wages of which a piece goes to contractor.

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I think everyone should have to pay into the Social Security system (as an employee or independent contractor),  and therefore they will get a SS check with they retire.   Also since heath insurance is mandate and there is Medicare elderly folks should have some form of health insurance coverage.   

 

I just don't agree that anyone in a profession should be quilted into providing support for those that use to be in their profession.

 

As for actors making large sums and then struggling to find work as an actor;  Have you been to San Jose?    They can go pump gas!

Don't confuse Social Security and Medicare with SSI and Medicaid.  Four entirely different programs.  Regardless, the four highest paid actors could fund the actors home and the medical needs.  And never miss the money at all.

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    "GregoryPeckfan" was asking about Baby Peggy's films. I know that TCM aired a special documentary about Baby Peggy along with the film "Captain January" and the shorts "Carmen Jr.",

"Such Is Life" and "Peg O' The Mounted"  a few years back. In the last few months they also aired

"The Family Secret".

     I also believe that "Helen's Babies" is available as it is a Clara Bow film.

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     There was an article about Baby Peggy in the Nitrateville forum. Someone interviewed her in the last 6 weeks and took some photos of her. It mentioned that she's become more fragile but for 97 she looks amazing.

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So today's actors don't have to give 14% to the Feds for social security (up to the cap) like any independent contractor?    I know I had to pony up when I didn't have a 'regular' job and worked as an independent contractor.

 

All independent contractors should be paying the "self employment" tax, which goes to paying your share of what the employer would remove of your paycheck. But most actors (& other artists) start out so hand-to-mouth, they often work "under the table" or without compensation just to get their name out there.

And "independents" are required to file quarterly instead of yearly, making things even more difficult. (hiring accountant, budgeting payments, etc)

 

So the Actor's Home was a very important function in those early days when some actors found themselves alone & destitute in their later years.

I'm glad Baby Peggy has survived healthy & happy for her golden years-she certainly brought happiness to a lot of depressed people.

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     There was an article about Baby Peggy in the Nitrateville forum. Someone interviewed her in the last 6 weeks and took some photos of her. It mentioned that she's become more fragile but for 97 she looks amazing.

 

I found this nice article just chock-full of good stuff, along with some great photos.

 

 http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/may/23/i-spent-most-of-my-life-as-a-nobody-the-last-of-the-silent-movie-stars

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