Meet Baby Peggy — Star Of 'Showbiz Kids' & Hollywood's First Big Child Star

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Who Is Baby Peggy From 'Showbiz Kids' On HBO? Meet Hollywood's First Major Child Star
Entertainment And News

The new HBO documentary Showbiz Kids gave us a look into what the lives of child stars are really like, including one of the very first ones to ever make it big in Hollywood: Baby Peggy. 

Originally named Peggy-Jean Montgomery, Baby Peggy later changed her name to Diana Serra Cary, and was more than 100 years old when she shared her experiences in the film. 

Who is Baby Peggy from Showbiz Kids?

What you need to know about her extraordinary life.

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In Showbiz Kids, Baby Peggy talked about her early career in Hollywood. 

A silent film star, Cary signed her first contract at the age of 3, and her fame, though short-lived, only got bigger than there — but in the documentary, she said that meant she missed out on the normal life of a child.

“I didn’t know what a regular kid was because I didn’t have any friends," she said in the movie, adding. "I didn’t know there was another world out there for children, and the life of a child was not my life.”

Her career ended over a contract dispute at age 7. 

Sadly, just a few years after she really made it big, Cary's career came to a crashing halt when her father disagreed about a contract and the deal fell through. 

"I was supposed to get top salary for three features, but my father wanted more and the contract was broken. Then I was blacklisted by Lesser because my father was labeled difficult to work with," she shared in a 2013 interview. 

She seemed to have a difficult relationship with her family.

In another interview, Cary explained that because she was the source of her family's money, she wasn't able to do anything but act as a child, and it sounds like the way her parents treated her impacted her for the rest of her life.

 I was the work horse. My sister and I were never asked that crucial question, 'What are you doing to do when you grow up?' I was gonna be Baby Peggy forever. That was it," she said.  "There was no democratic feel to our family's table. I simply occupied a house and did what I was told. I was the breadwinner. My sister eventually blacked out a lot of her life. It was so stressful because she was in competition with me. She developed a real inferiority complex."

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She had a few minor roles In her teenage years. 

Though she never saw the same fame she had as a young child, Cary attempted to make a comeback under the name Peggy Montgomery in the mid to late '30s, scoring small roles in movies including True Confession in 1937 and 8 Girls in a Boat in 1934. By 1938, though, she'd decided to throw in the towel. 

After leaving Hollywood, she became a writer. 

Cary later found that writing was her true passion, and after publishing her first book in 1975, she went on to write several others, including her own autobiography.

"I was determined to become a writer," she said in a 1995 interview. "I started writing backstage in the theatre, and I also wanted to be a historian. I was fascinated with history. So I had to do it against my parents' wishes because they wanted me to continue in films, and I didn't want to. Part of that was why I got married, because that was the only way to get out of the house. I didn't want to do that, but I was forced to in order to do my own thing." 

Cary died In February 2020 at 101 years old.

On February 25, 2020, Cary passed away after filming Showbiz Kids, and her son, Mark, released a statement about his mother's passing. 

"I am proud of how she was able to come to terms with what happened to her from when she was just a toddler and re-create her life anew," the statement said. "She learned to love herself and her unusual childhood so she could focus on telling her story to educate others in how to avoid the same negative things that she had experienced in her life and career as Baby Peggy."

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.