In his presentation to the Windsor Square – Hancock Park Historical Society last month, historian Marc Wanamaker described the singular accomplishments of Mary Pickford, which were highly unusual for both a woman and a Hollywood actor at that time. He also noted her role as a leading figure in keeping Beverly Hills a city independent from Los Angeles.
Speaking at her one-time residence in Fremont Place last month, Wanamaker explained that Pickford used her celebrity to encourage city leaders to trade independence for water rights, marking the first time a Hollywood celebrity advocated for a cause.
At the time, Pickford and her husband Douglas Fairbanks were part of growing number of wealthy people who had settled in Beverly Hills, according to a new book by Nancie Clare, “The Battle for Beverly Hills.” It’s a fascinating look into the people who helped create the city of Beverly HIlls…and an excerpt is featured in March issue of Los Angeles Magazine.
Wanamaker told the Buzz that he worked with Clare, supplying most of the images for the book and for the article from his Bison Archives collection.
“She researched all the stories about this subject through original sources at the time and interviewed people who were around at that time,” Wanamaker told the Buzz. “I think it is the best one could find to date about what had happened at that time.”
“The Battle for Beverly Hills,” is definitely one for our local history libraries.