Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford canoeing at Pickfair, c. 1920s
"The movie magazines called them "King Doug, Queen Mary and [Mary’s mother] Dowager Charlotte" and Pickfair was the castle from which they reigned. Doug had bought the fourteen-acre estate north of the Beverly Hills Hotel with stables and rolling landscaped hills just before they were married. The English-style home included a bowling alley, a billiards room, and a small theater. With a large portrait of Mary hanging over the mantel in the living room, Pickfair was designed around entertaining. A sense of "endless pageantry" was encouraged by releasing photographs of them canoeing in their swimming pool, and a total of fourteen servants assured that almost every need was met.
From the outside it looked like a fairy tale come true, but Frances [Marion] agreed with Frank Case’s daughter Margaret that Mary’s life was “undeniably dull.” Anita Loos went so far as to think Mary’s situation suffocating, saying “a tighter knot was never tied.”
Dinner was always prepared for fifteen people on the assumption that Doug would bring home “his trainers and the professional wits and yes-men who eternally clung to him.” Charlie Chaplin, who called himself a “lone wolf” despite his string of wives and girlfriends, said Doug and Mary were his “social salvation.” He raved about the “excellent service and excellent cuisine” at Pickfair and was often there for dinner along with those who had dropped by the studio to visit during the day. Frances and [Frances’ husband] Fred [Thomson] occasionally dined at Pickfair and if Fred was out on location, Frances would go alone, often finding herself the only other woman besides Mary at the table. No matter who the guests were, cups of Ovaltine or bowls of fruit were passed out at ten o’clock as the signal that it was time to go home.”