Submitted photograph to contest sponsored by <i>Motion Picture</i> magazine; moved to Chicago when placed among finalists but was deemed too young
Family moved to NYC
Posed for a series of photographs titled "The Madonna Child" for Charles Albin; caught attention of talent scout who put her under six-month contract with Paramount; name changed to Mary Astor
Film debut in a dream sequence of the film "Sentimental Journey"; cut from final print
First screen appearance in title role of the short "The Beggar Maid"
Feature acting debut in "John Smith"
Re-signed by Paramount to a $500 a week contract
Career boosted when she was reportedly requested by John Barrymore to play opposite him in "Beau Brummel" (produced at Warner Bros.) and "Don Juan"; they supposedly fell in love on the set
Signed by Warner Bros.
Named a Wampas Baby Star
Loaned to Fox for "Dressed to Kill"; later signed contract with Fox
Released by Fox when she failed a sound test; the equipment distorted her voice and made her sound more masculine
Co-starred in the L.A. stage production "Among the Married" alongside Florence Eldridge and Edward Everett Horton
First sound feature "Ladies Love Brutes"
Co-starred as Julia Seton in the first screen version of Philip Barry's play "Holiday"
Cast as an unfaithful wife in "Red Dust"
Played a murder suspect in "The Kennel Murder Case", a Philo Vance mystery starring William Powell as the detective
Made headlines when her 1929-1934 diary was introduced in divorce proceedings; the journal reportedly contained passages of her lovers in explicit detail; Astor always maintained that the pages introduced in court were forgeries
Delivered a memorable supporting turn as an American expatriate in "Dodsworth"
Co-starred in "The Prisoner of Zenda" and "The Hurricane"
Returned to the stage as star of three one-acts by Noel Coward, "Tonight at 8:30", "The Astonished Heart" and "Still Life"
Played Judy Garland's widowed mother in "Listen Darling"
Began appearing on radio programs such as "Lux Theatre", "Screen Actors Guild" and "Suspense"
Reunited onscreen with John Barrymore in "Midnight"; was pregnant during filming
Won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing a concert pianist in "The Great Lie"; film starred Bette Davis
Cast in what is arguably her best-known role, the shady Brigid O'Shaughnessy in "The Maltese Falcon" opposite Humphrey Bogart
Reteamed with Bogart in "Across the Pacific"
Donned an ill-advised blonde wig as a much-married socialite in the comedy "The Palm Beach Story"
Signed seven-year contract with MGM in part for the financial security; later came to regret decision as studio only seemed to cast her in matronly parts which she dubbed "The Metro Mothers"
Played the matriarch of the Smith family in the charming slice of Americana "Meet Me in St. Louis"
Broadway debut in the ill-fated "Many Happy Returns"
Had to turn down and opportunity to star in film version of "Blithe Spirit" as MGM would not loan her
Loaned to Fox to co-star in "Claudia and David"
Portrayed a woman of questionable virtue in the noirish "Act of Violence"
Cast as Marmee in remake of "Little Women"; Astor was so disillusioned with studio she asked to be released from her contract
Struggling with alcoholism, attempted suicide; later joined Alcoholics Anonymous and converted to Catholicism
Toured the USA in the stage play "The Time of the Cuckoo"
TV acting debut in "The Missing Years" on "Kraft Television Theater" (ABC)
Made frequent appearances on TV programs
Returned to Broadway opposite Eve LeGallienne in "The Starcross Story"
Moved back to Los Angeles
Toured in Shaw's "Don Juan in Hell", directed by Agnes Moorehead
Returned to films after seven years to play Robert Wagner's mother in "A Kiss Before Dying"
Played Norma Desmond in TV version of "Sunset Boulevard"; also acted in "The Women" and two separate versions of "The Philadelphia Story"
Published "My Story, An Autobiography"
Portrayed the overpossessive mother of Brett Halsey in the sequel "Return to Peyton Place"
Final film, "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte"; made cameo appearance as a blackmailed murderer; co-starred with Bette Davis
Wrote second memoir "A Life on Film"
Moved to Motion Picture Country Home
Profiled in cover story of <i>Life</i> magazine, "Whatever Became of Mary Astor and Other Lost Stars?"