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#153 The Screenwriter and the Superstar – Melanie Benjamin

Smithsonian Associates, Interview Series

The upcoming presentation of The Girls in the Picture the new novel from New York Times bestselling author Melanie Benjamin, tells the story of the friendship and creative partnership between two of Hollywood’s earliest female legends, screenwriter Frances Marion and silent-movie superstar Mary Pickford.

Benjamin’s story begins in 1914, when 25-year-old Frances Marion leaves her husband and her Northern California home for the lure of Los Angeles, where she is determined to live independently as an artist. There she finds her true calling, writing stories for the booming new medium of film. She also makes the acquaintance of actress Mary Pickford, whose signature golden curls and lively spirit have earned her the title “America’s Sweetheart.”

The two ambitious young women hit it off instantly, but their ambitions are challenged by both the men around them and the limitations imposed on their gender—and they realize their astronomical success could come at a price. As in any good Hollywood story, dramas play out, personalities clash, and even the deepest friendships might be shattered.

Hear Benjamin discuss this story of friendship and forgiveness, as well as her approach to capturing the dawn of a new era in American entertainment.

Please check the Smithsonian Associates web site for final details about venue for this program:  smithsonianassociates.org

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