Baby Peggy was just three years old when she signed her first contract.
At five, she had starred in nearly 150 films and had another $1.5 million contract to her name.
Praised as America's sweetheart, Baby Peggy, who later changed her name to Diana Serra Cary, became one of the most famous actors of Hollywood's silent era.
But like many child stars after her, Cary came to learn the road to Hollywood fame wasn't always easy.
Watch the trailer for Showbiz Kids, starring Diana Serra Cary. Post continues below.
Born Peggy-Jean Montgomery in 1918, Cary was just 19 months old when her mother brought her to Century Studios.
Her distinctive black hair and expressive face attracted the attention of a director who cast her in her first short Playmates and later paired her with the animal star Brownie the Wonder Dog.
She would appear in several full-length silent features such as Darling of New York, Captain January and Family Secret.
And that was only the beginning. At five, she became a self-made millionaire and had her own line of Baby Peggy dolls, jewellery and sheet music. She quickly found her way into the hearts of millions of Americans, receiving over 1.7 million fan letters a year, according to The New York Times.
But for Cary, life in the spotlight was anything but normal.
“I didn’t know what a regular kid was, because I didn’t have any friends,” Cary explained in the new HBO documentary Showbiz Kids, before her death earlier this year.
"I didn’t know there was another world out there for children, and the life of a child was not my life.”
Instead, her life revolved around work, which she would spend eight hours a day and six days a week doing.
“My father would snap his fingers and say, ‘Cry!’ And I would cry. ‘Laugh!’ And I would laugh. ‘Be frightened!’ And I’d be frightened. He called it obedience," she told The Guardian in 2015.
Not only did she have to work long gruelling hours, the young actress was also placed in dangerous situations on set.
In the 1923 film The Darling of New York, Cary's character had to escape a burning building, which was reportedly doused with actual kerosene. She was also physically pushed around by adults while filming.