Diana Serra “Baby Peggy” Cary

Diana Serra “Baby Peggy” Cary

Original Name Peggy-Jean Montgomery
Birth
San Diego, San Diego County, California, USA
Death 24 Feb 2020 (aged 101)
Gustine, Merced County, California, USA
Burial Burial Details Unknown
Memorial ID 207397739 · View Source
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Actress, Author. From 1921 through 1924, she appeared in more than 150 silent films, earning as much as $1 million per year. Known for her distinctive bob haircut, "Baby Peggy" starred in such films as 'Little Red Riding Hood,' 'Hansel and Gretel,' 'Carmen Jr.,' 'The Darling of New York' and 'Captain January,' before most of her films were destroyed in a studio warehouse fire in 1926. Born Peggy-Jean Montgomery, she was a precocious 2½-year-old when Century Studio cast her opposite Brownie the Wonder Dog in 1921. By age 5, she had made films for Century, Universal and Principal Pictures, and was a multi-millionaire. She had a Beverly Hills mansion and had a chauffeur-driven limousine that took her to work every day. Her fan mail surpassed 1.7 million letters a year, she went on national tours, adorned magazine covers and endorsed dolls, jewelry and sheet music. In 1924, she waved an American flag standing beside Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Democratic National Convention in New York. Like other major child stars of the silent era whose fortunes were squandered by guardians, Baby Peggy and her financial affairs were controlled by her parents, Jack and Marian Montgomery, who spent lavishly and set nothing aside for her education or her future. In 1925 her career was over when a $1.5 million contract was canceled and she was blacklisted in Hollywood after her father had a bitter falling out with a studio boss over her salary. She made one last picture, 'April Fool,' in 1926, and then found no more work in Hollywood. For several years after her film career faded, she performed on a grueling vaudeville circuit to support her parents in the style to which they had become accustomed. They squandered much of her $2 million fortune on hotels, luxury cars and travel, and the rest was lost in the stock market crash of 1929. The home in Beverly Hills was sold, as were the cars, jewels and other luxuries, and the family moved to a ranch in Wyoming. Several years later, against Peggy’s wishes, the family returned to Hollywood and put her back to work, now as a teenager in the talkies. From 1932 to 1938, she appeared in eight films as an anonymous extra or in small roles credited to Peggy Montgomery. Later on, she found work as a switchboard operator, a bookstore clerk, and managed a gift shop, telling no one of her past. In 1970, she began a new career as a film historian, writing such books as 'The Hollywood Posse' (1975), 'Hollywood’s Children' (1978), 'Whatever Happened to Baby Peggy? The Autobiography of Hollywood’s Pioneer Child Star' (1996) and 'Jackie Coogan: The World’s Boy King: A Biography of Hollywood’s Legendary Child Star' (2003).

Bio by: Louis du Mort


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Louis du Mort
  • Added: 24 Feb 2020
  • Find a Grave Memorial 207397739
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Diana Serra “Baby Peggy” Cary (29 Oct 1918–24 Feb 2020), Find a Grave Memorial no. 207397739, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Burial Details Unknown.