Whatever Happened to Baby Peggy?
By Diana Serra Cary
St. Martin's Press, 1996.
Other Books by Diana Serra Cary (Baby Peggy)
If you ever get the chance to see the documentary, Baby Peggy: The Elephant in the Room, you ought. Dutch director, Vera Iwerebor, began corresponding with Diana Serra Cary (aka"Baby" Peggy Montgomery) in the early 1990s and the film is a collaboration borne of their twenty-year friendship. Because of that friendship, Diana Cary is more candid than she's ever been in discussing her experience as a huge box office star, the tremendous responsibility of being the family breadwinner at 20 months old, and the dreadful mismanagement of her earnings by her father and grandfather.
It's positively Greek — if Aeschylus had written Gypsy, that is: A rapacious, scheming father; an emotionally unavailable mother; a thieving cad of a step-grandfather; and an overshadowed sibling who couldn't help but resent the toddler sister who paid the bills.
So many, many bills. So many, many horrible decisions made by "adults" in her life.
Understandably eager to rid herself of the "Baby Peggy" persona in early adulthood, Cary changed her name, converted to Catholicism, and became a writer and noted film historian. How this woman grew into the gracious, intelligent, lovely person she is turns out to be — and not, say, a raving mental patient — is a miracle of human resilience.
Seriously. See The Elephant in the Room.
Heartfelt Plea to Get This Woman a Star