The statues date from 1929. The story goes that Israel Miller, the owner of the store and the building, handed out ballots to his customers to pick their favorite actresses in drama, musical comedy, film, and opera. When the results came in, Miller commissioned sculptor Alexander Calder to make statues of the winners.
The most recognizable, at least as far as name goes, is probably Ethel Barrymore, who played Ophelia opposite Walter Hampden as Hamlet in the fall of 1925 at the Hampden’s Theatre on Broadway and 62nd, and the National Theatre on 41st and Seventh, which is now the Nederlander.
Co-founder of both United Artists and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, married to Douglas Fairbanks, and known for most of her long life as “America's Sweetheart," Mary Pickford was born Gladys Marie Smith in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which makes the America in her title continental rather than national. She starred as Little Lord Fauntleroy in 1921, which made $900,000, or about $12 million bucks in current Cash Lite. She also made The Taming Of The Shrew with Fairbanks in 1929, which is famous in film and theatrical circles for the legendary credit: “‘Additional dialogue by Sam Taylor.”