Margaret Booth was 17 when she left school in California, 1915 and got a $10-a-week job in Hollywood as a 'cutter', splicing film rolls to be edited. It was considered 'women's work' - cutting was compared to sewing due to its intricacy.
Booth had an eye for editing, and after various promotions she moved to MGM, where she and Irving Thalberg, the head of production, would watch and discuss the dailies. Impressed by Booth’s expertise and remarkable instincts, Thalberg named her ‘film editor’ to reflect her creative input. It's even rumoured that the term was coined for her.
Booth became a powerhouse at MGM; she was known to kick directors out of the cutting room and had the final say on all films made from the 1930s to the 1960s.
She began her career with no formal training and went on to receive an honourary Oscar for over 60 years of “exceptionally distinguished service to the motion picture industry”.
As an unknown heroine of Hollywood and a pioneer of early cinema, Margaret Booth is a powerful reminder of what women in film can achieve.