Frederica Maas dies at 111

Frederica Sagor Maas, whose tell-all memoir of her experiences in early Hollywood made her a celebrity at nearly 100, died Jan. 5 at 111. She was the second-oldest Californian and the world’s 44th-oldest person.

She was born Frederica Sagor in New York to Russian Jewish immigrants who had shortened their name from Zagosky.

Maas’ memoir, “The Shocking Miss Pilgrim,” told wild tales of rampant sex, corporate shenanigans and theft of her creative efforts. She wrote about seeing “It Girl” Clara Bow dancing naked on a table at a party at a time when sex among Hollywood insiders was as “humdrum as washing your face or cleansing your teeth.”

The New York Times said Maas’ life was “like the plot of an old-fashioned movie.” She was a copy assistant for a New York newspaper and then became an assistant story editor at Universal Pictures, where she trolled for movie script ideas on Broadway. She studied journalism at Columbia University but never graduated, because her passion for early films took her into the fledgling industry.

She moved to Los Angeles four years later and refused producer Ben Schulberg’s offers to turn her into a star. “I might be good-looking but that doesn’t make me an actress,” she said she told him. “And besides, I have sort of contempt for this motion picture type of acting.”

As one of the last survivors of movies’ silent era, Maas was able to get in the last word. “I’m alive and thriving and, well, you SOBs are all below,” she said in 1999.