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Photoplay was one of the first celebrity magazines. Founded in 1911 in Chicago, the same year that J. Stuart Blackton founded a similar magazine entitled Motion Picture Story.

Photoplay began as a short-fiction magazine concerned mostly with the plots and characters of films at the time and was used as a promotional tool for those films. In 1915, Julian Johnson and James Quirk became the editors (though Quirk had been vice-president of the magazine since its inception), and together they created a format which would set a precedent for almost all celebrity magazines that followed. By 1918 the editors could boast a circulation figure of 204,434, the popularity of the magazine fueled by the public's ever increasing interest in the private lives of celebrities. It's because of this that the magazine is credited with inventing celebrity media.

Photoplay published the writings of Hedda Hopper, Walter Winchell, Cal York, Sidney Skolsky, Adela Rogers St. John, Sheilah Graham, Dorothy Kigallen, and Louella Parsons, among others.

Photoplay merged with another fan magazine, Movie Mirror, in 1941; and changed again in 1977, when the name became Photoplay and TV Mirror.