Olive Thomas was a rising young star in 1920s Hollywood. Then she married superstar Mary Pickford´s brother, Jack. In September of 1920, while the couple was in Paris, Olive allegedly stumbled to her drunk and for some reason never made clear, drank a bottle of mercury bichloride, a medicine prescribed for her husband’s chronic syphilis. “Suddenly she shrieked: ‘My God.’ I jumped out of bed” Pickford said “rushed toward her and caught her in my arms. She cried to me to find out what was in the bottle. I picked it up and read: ‘Poison.'
She died five days later.
Thomas met Jack Pickford in 1916 at a beach cafe on the Santa Monica Pier. At that point Pickford was a successful silent film star in his own right. Screenwriter Frances Marion remarked, "I had seen her often at the Pickford home, for she was engaged to Mary's brother, Jack. Two innocent-looking children, they were the gayest, wildest brats who ever stirred the stardust on Broadway. Both were talented, but they were much more interested in playing the roulette of life than in concentrating on their careers."
The couple eloped in October of 1916. (Olive had been before, at age 15.)
There was no doubt that Olive loved Pickford deeply, but the marriage was filled with problems which led them to a second honeymoon in Paris where Olive died. The medicine that she drank was in a flask and she may have assumed it was alcohol, however, the label was in French.
Pickford married twice more. In 1922 he married dancer Marilyn Miller, but it was an abusive marriage due to Pickford’s rages and increased drugging and drinking. Miller, who was also an alcoholic, died in 1936 from complications following nose surgery just after having recovered from a complete nervous breakdown.
In 1930 Pickford married a former Ziegfeld girl named Mary Mulhern. That marriage also ended due to Pickford’s violence.
A depressed and alcoholic Jack Pickford died 13 years later, at age 36 of a degenerative disease. Oddly enough he died in Paris.