Hollywood’s last silent-era child star, known as ‘Baby Peggy’, has died aged 101.
Diana Serra Cary, known professionally as Peggy-Jean Montgomery appeared in her first movie in 1921 aged 18 months opposite Brownie the Wonder Dog in ‘Playmates’.
Over the first five years of her life she appeared in more than 150 movies.
To early film audiences, she was known as Baby Peggy, the ‘Child Wonder’ and ‘The Kutest Kiddie on the Screen’.
Diana Serra Cary, pictured left in 2012, known professionally as Peggy-Jean Montgomery appeared in her first movie in 1921 aged 18 months opposite Brownie the Wonder Dog in ‘Playmates’. She is pictured right in the early 1920s
Baby Peggy, was known as the Million Dollar Baby. Baby Peggy dolls were sold and by the late 1920s she had earned more than $4million dollars, although much of that cash was squandered by her parents, stolen by a relative and the remainder lost in the Wall Street Crash
Commenting on her first role and her canine co-star, she said: ‘We were on the same money. Sharp dog.’
By the age of two she was earning more money than her father and gave her first interview aged three.
Due to her movie career, she did not start school until 12. She also had her first novel published.
According to the New York Times, she received more than 1.7 million pieces of fan mail a year and appeared at the 1924 Democratic National Convention with Franklin D. Roosevelt.
However, despite her success, her financial affairs were controlled by her parents, Jack and Marian Montgomery.
She was also expected to work six days a week for up to eight hours a day.
As well as not going to school, Baby Peggy was not allowed to play with other children.
Most of her 150 movies were destroyed in a fire at the Century Film Company studios in 1926.
In an era before health and safety, Baby Peggy was forced to do her own stunts. She was held under water until she passed out in one movie. In another, she was thrown from the back of a truck and even tied to a goat.