Diana Serra Cary, AKA “Baby Peggy”, to my knowledge the last living bona fide star of the silent movie era, has died. Variety reports:
Diana Serra Cary, the child silent film star known by the nickname Baby Peggy, died on Monday in Gustine, Calif. She was 101.
Born on October 29, 1918 as Peggy Jean Montgomery, Cary began her career in the film industry at the early age of 19 months. During a visit with her mother and a friend to Century Film Studio in Hollywood, director Fred Fishbach became impressed with Peggy’s well-mannered behavior that led to her co-starring in short films. She soon began starring in her own series of films, becoming a major Hollywood celebrity and appearing in more than 100 shorts. She starred in a short film as Little Red Riding Hood in 1922 and in Hansel and Gretel in 1923. She starred in five feature-length films including “Captain January” in 1924 that was later remade as a musical starring Shirley Temple.
Not only was Ms. Cary a silent movie star and not only did her movies create the space that Shirley Temple stepped into in the sound era, in later years she was an advocate for other former child performers.
Her death truly marks the end of an era.