"To me, David Belasco was like the King of England, Julius Caesar and Napoleon rolled into one." — Mary Pickford
That's a strange one, to say the least. King of England (was it Edward VII or George V?), Caesar, and Napoleon? This Belasco might have been some fancy character... What exactly did he do to Miss Pickford?
Well, for one, he created Miss Pickford, as Belasco recommended she change her name from Gladys Smith. Not the worst of changes, if you ask us.
So who was Belasco? One of Broadway's most important producers and directors at the turn of the 20th century, the Sephardic Jew helped shape Broadway in its early years. His best-known work was the first adaptation of "Madam Butterfly" for the stage, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Belasco wrote and directed dozens of plays, produced numerous silent films, and launched the career of multiple stars of early stage and cinema, including Barbara Stanwyck and the aforementioned Miss Pickford.
Still, the King of England, Caesar, and Napoleon? One can't help but wonder...