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By: Richard deCordova

In: Stardom and Celebrity: A Reader

Chapter 11: The Emergence of the Star System in America

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The Emergence of the Star System in America
The emergence of the star system in America
RicharddeCordova

The standard histories of the cinema account for the emergence of the star system through an appeal to a series of four “events.”1

  • The public wanted to know the names of the film performers. A desire was already there.
  • The producers resisted revealing the performers' names for two reasons: first, they did not want to pay higher salaries to performers; and second, the performers were in reality well-known legitimate actors who would risk their reputation by appearing by name in films.
  • Carl Laemmle, in a move designed to gain an ascendancy over the Patents Trust, introduced the first star, Florence Lawrence. The star system thus emerged out of a struggle ...

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