Although Charlotte and her husband were separated, he still forbade the girls using his last name on stage. So, they adopted their mother's maiden name of Shelby. Margaret became a bit actress using this name.
Child labor laws had just gone into effect, so to make sure her daughter could be on stage (and bring home the cash), Charlotte obtained the birth certificate of a relative and changed Juliet Reilly/Shelby into Mary Miles Minter.
In 1919, she played the lead role in Anne of Green Gables, which was being directed by William Desmond Taylor. The film was a hit and Taylor was very involved with Mary's climbing career. The two eventually began a romantic relationship. He was hesitant at first, considering their 30 year age difference, while Mary looked at him as a father figure.
Mary died from a stroke on August 4, 1984. Around seven of her films are said to survive today, but like I said, I have only seen two available to view.
The murder case of William Desmond Taylor is still unsolved, but they had many suspects. Mabel Normand, Charlotte Shelby, and Mary herself were all suspects. An actress named Margaret Gibson even confessed to the murder on her deathbed. Personally, I think it was Charlotte Shelby who killed Taylor. She was jealous that he was taking away her little girl, her money maker, and she was not going to take it. But, since all of the major players in this case are dead, we are probably never going to know what happened.
Either way, Mary Miles Minter was a beautiful girl who got involved in a bad situation and sadly was destroyed by it. If you ever get a chance to view her on film, do it. She is remarkable.
** 10/23/10 ** Well, this wasn't that surprising to find. In the 1920 Census record, Charlotte Shelby is listed as "business manager" and also as an actress. She didn't work out as an actress, so it's quite funny that she still referred to herself as one. Mary (listed by her real name Juliet) and Margaret are both listed as actresses in moving pictures.