Pickford, Mary: On the Oscar and Typcasting

Some actors have come to resent the screen image imposed on them by the public due to its limitations. Mary Pickford was best loved for playing the naive, innocent girl, for which she was dubbed "America's Sweetheart." Occasionally, Pickford would try to deviate from her standardized roles, but under public pressure she would be forced to play them again. As late as 1920, when she was 27, Pickford was still embodying onscreen teenagers in the mold of Pollyanna.

Pickford was cast against type in her Oscar-winning role, "Coquette," which called for cutting her curls and acquiring a new hairstyle and a new personality. But neither the film nor her persona convinced her fans. Pickford resented her public image, as she recorded in her memoirs: "Every now and then, as the years went by and I continued to play children's roles, it would worry me that I was becoming a personality instead of an actress. I would suddenly resent the fact that I had allowed myself to be hypnotized by the public into remaining a little girl. A wild impulse would seize me to reach for the nearest shears and remove that blonde chain around my neck."