Universal Studios founder Carl Laemmle created the star system back in 1915 when he discovered that audiences responded better to a Mary Pickford or a Clara Bow rather than to some anonymous Biograph Girl — star names plus fan loyalty added up to the profit, Laemmle, a former pants salesman from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, found he could throw anything on the screen with Pickford in it and people would pay to see it. The unfortunate aspect of having stars to pull them in at the box office was that the stars were no longer satisfied to work for bus money and sack lunch. They wanted star bucks and all the pampering that came to be known as star treatment. Within twenty years of Laemmle’s discovery of Pickford, the actress was a retired multimillionaire, while Laemmle fell into bankruptcy, lost his studio, and died broke.
Dennis McDougal, The Last Mogul: Lew Wasserman, MCA, and the Hidden History of Hollywood.