Manny P. here…
Baby Peggy was an insanely popular silent screen character. Diana Serra Cary, who played the loveable tot, grew up and retired from show business. She is one of the last surviving members of the era. Yet, the Motion Picture Television Fund does not recognize her longevity as an actress, and refuses Cary any of their services.
A beloved contemporary of such stars as Lillian Gish and Adolphe Menjou, she received over a million fan letters for her 150 shorts and features. This woman gave up her childhood (through no choice of her own), and now, is the last living silent film star. Her highly-praised literary autobiography, Whatever Happened to Baby Peggy, spawned a feature-length documentary.
Now 97 and healthy, but alarmingly frail, Cary has attempted for months to find financial support for modest in-home, non-medical care from the MPTF, founded by Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin with a single mission statement: Taking Care of Our Own. Instead of honoring this mantra, MPTF management has refused Baby Peggy any support, claiming her limited time in cinema and modest pension (which covers only bare living expenses) prevents this.
Such questionable treatment of our oldest living silent screen star remains particularly indefensible given MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher reportedly earns over $700,000 per year, while his top 10 employees take home a combined $4 million. This outrageous mistreatment of a movie pioneer needs to change. Let’s encourage that the MPTF address this situation. Here’s how:
The great niece of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford has released this statement:
As a member of the Fairbanks & Pickford families, I urge you to support Baby Peggy (Diana Serra Cary). Being old should be an honored position, especially for one who spent their childhood entertaining millions. Join me in doing a good deed for Baby Peggy!
Please contact with the Motion Picture & Television Fund CEO through email, or post on the MPTF page — facebook.com/mptf — to share your thoughts on their treatment of sweet Diana Serra Cary, one of the last surviving silent film stars.
Email MPTF CEO and President Bob Beitcher at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him he needs to quickly reverse his organization’s appalling refusal to provide assistance to Ms. Cary, and fund her need for in-home, non-medical support. Copy your email to info@MPTF.com.
Taking the above actions will cost you nothing… just a chance to hit back on a vivid example of elder abuse.
Until next time> “never forget”