Lillian Diana Gish (1893 - 1993)

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Birthplace: Springfield, Clark, Ohio, United States
Death: Died in New York, New York, United States
Cause of death: She died in her sleep of natural causes on February 27, 1993, aged 99
Occupation: Lillian Gish would soon become one of America's best-loved actresses, Silent Film Actress, Actress
Managed by: Walter G. Ashworth
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Immediate Family

About Lillian Diana Gish

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Lillian Gish

Lillian Gish, 1921 (above profile photo) Born Lillian Diana Gish October 14, 1893 Springfield, Ohio, U.S. Died February 27, 1993 (aged 99) New York City, New York, U.S. Occupation Actress Years active 1912 – 1987 Official website Lillian Diana Gish (October 14, 1893 – February 27, 1993) was an American stage, screen and television actress whose film acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912 to 1987. She was a prominent film star of the 1910s and 1920s, particularly associated with the films of director D.W. Griffith, including her leading role in Griffith's seminal Birth of a Nation (1915). Her sound-era film appearances were sporadic, but included memorable roles in the controversial western Duel in the Sun (1946) and the offbeat thriller Night of the Hunter (1955). She did considerable television work from the early 1950s into the 1980s, and closed her career playing, for the first time, opposite Bette Davis in the 1987 film, The Whales of August. The American Film Institute (AFI) named Gish 17th among the greatest female stars of all time. She was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in 1971, and in 1984 she received an AFI Life Achievement Award.

Early life

Lillian Diana Gish was born in Springfield, Ohio, the elder sister of actress Dorothy Gish. Their mother, Mary Robinson McConnell (an Episcopalian), began acting in order to support the family after her husband, James Leigh Gish (who was of German Lutheran descent) abandoned the family.[4]. When Lillian and Dorothy were old enough, they joined the theatre, often traveling separately in different productions. They also took modeling jobs. In 1912, their friend Mary Pickford introduced the sisters to D. W. Griffith, and helped get them contracts with Biograph Studios. Lillian Gish would soon become one of America's best-loved actresses. Although she was 19 she gave her age as 16 and it was not until 1984 that her true birth date was discovered.

Career

Their first role was in Griffith's short film An Unseen Enemy. Lillian went on to star in many of Griffith's most acclaimed films, including The Birth of a Nation (as Elsie), Intolerance, Broken Blossoms, Way Down East and Orphans of the Storm. One of the enduring images of Gish's silent film years is the climax of the melodramatic Way Down East (1920), in which Gish's character floats unconscious on an ice floe towards a raging waterfall, her long hair trailing in the water.

1921 fan magazine cover by Rolf Armstrong Having appeared in over 25 short films and features in her first two years as a movie actress, Lillian became a major star, becoming known as "The First Lady of the Silent Screen" and appearing in lavish productions, frequently of literary works such as The Scarlet Letter. MGM released her from her contract in 1928 after the failure of The Wind, now recognized by many as among her finest performances and one of the most distinguished works of the late silent period. She directed one film, Remodeling Her Husband, when D. W. Griffith took his unit on location—he told Gish that he thought the crew would work harder for a girl. Gish apparently preferred to remain in front of the camera rather than behind it, since she never directed again. She told reporters at the time that directing was a man's job.[citation needed] With her debut in talkies only moderately successful, she acted on the stage for the most part in the 1930s and early 1940s, appearing in roles as varied as Ophelia in Guthrie McClintic's landmark 1936 production of Hamlet (with John Gielgud and Judith Anderson) and Marguerite in a limited run of La Dame aux Camélias. Of the former, she said, with pride, "I played a lewd Ophelia!".

Lillian Gish as Anna Moore in D. W. Griffith's film Way Down East (1920) Returning to movies, Gish was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1946 for Duel in the Sun. She appeared in films from time to time for the rest of her life, notably in Night of the Hunter as a rural guardian angel protecting her charges from a murderous preacher (Robert Mitchum). She was considered for various roles in Gone with the Wind ranging from Ellen O'Hara, Scarlett's mother, which went to Barbara O'Neil,[5] to the role of the disgraced prostitute, Belle Watling, which went to Ona Munson. Gish made numerous television appearances from the early 1950s into the late 1980s. Her most acclaimed television work was starring in the original production of The Trip to Bountiful in 1953. She appeared as Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in the short-lived 1965 Broadway musical Anya. In addition to her latter-day acting appearances, Gish became one of the leading advocates on the lost art of the silent film, often giving speeches and touring to screenings of classic works. In 1975, she hosted The Silent Years, a PBS film program of silent films.

Gish received a Special Academy Award in 1971 "For superlative artistry and for distinguished contribution to the progress of motion pictures." In 1984 she received an American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award, becoming only the second female recipient (Bette Davis was first in 1977), and the only recipient who was a major figure in the silent era. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1720 Vine Street. Her last film role was in The Whales of August in 1987 at the age of 93, with Vincent Price, Bette Davis and Ann Sothern, in which she and Davis starred as elderly sisters in Maine. Her final professional appearance was a cameo on the 1988 studio recording of Jerome Kern's Show Boat, starring Frederica von Stade and Jerry Hadley, in which she affectingly spoke the few lines of The Old Lady on the Levee in the final scene. The last words of her near century-spanning career: "Good night, dear." Some in the entertainment industry were angry that Gish had not received an Oscar nomination for her role in The Whales of August. Gish herself was more complacent, remarking that it saved her the trouble of "losing to Cher" (who did, in fact, win for her performance in Moonstruck).

Private life

Lillian and her sister Dorothy Lillian Gish never married nor had children. The association between Gish and D. W. Griffith was so close that some suspected a romantic connection, an issue never acknowledged by Gish although several of their associates were certain they were at least briefly involved. For the remainder of her life she always referred to him as "Mr. Griffith". She was involved with Charles Duell (a producer) and the drama critic and editor George Jean Nathan. Gish's association with Duell was something of a tabloid scandal in the 1920s after he sued her and made the details of their relationship public.[citation needed] During the period of political turmoil in the United States that lasted from the outbreak of World War II in Europe until the attack on Pearl Harbor, she maintained an outspoken non-interventionist stance. She was an active member of the America First Committee, an anti-intervention organization founded by retired General Robert E. Wood with aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh as its leading spokesman.

Personal life

She maintained a very close relationship with her sister Dorothy, as well as with Mary Pickford, for her entire life. Another of her closest friends was actress Helen Hayes; Gish was the godmother of Hayes' son James MacArthur.

Death

She died in her sleep of natural causes on February 27, 1993, aged 99. Her estate, which she left to Hayes (who died a month later) was valued at several million dollars, and went to provide prizes for artistic excellence.

Legacy

A street in Massillon, Ohio is named after Gish, who had lived there during an early period of her life and fondly referred to it as her hometown throughout her career. She was entombed beside her sister Dorothy at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church Columbarium in the undercroft of the church. Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio is home to the Gish Film Theater and Gallery, which is dedicated to the works of both Dorothy and Lillian Gish. The Smashing Pumpkins' 1991 debut album Gish was named after her. Gish was a leading character in The Biograph Girl, a 1980 stage musical about the silent film era. In an episode of The Simpsons Grandpa puts a poster of Lillian Gish on the wall of Homer's Games Room. Gish was born in a town called Springfield, the same name town used in the cartoon.

Burial: with her sister Dorothy and mother in Saint Bartholomew's Episcopal Church Manhattan New York County New York, USA

Posted by Walter G. Ashworth • Lillian Diana Gish is Walter G. Ashworth's 8th cousin twice removed! -------------------- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lillian_Gish

Lillian Diana Gish (October 14, 1893 – February 27, 1993[1]) was an American stage, screen and television actress whose film acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912 to 1987.

She was a prominent film star of the 1910s and 1920s, particularly associated with the films of director D.W. Griffith, including her leading role in Griffith's seminal Birth of a Nation (1915). Her sound-era film appearances were sporadic, but included memorable roles in the controversial western Duel in the Sun (1946) and the offbeat thriller Night of the Hunter (1955). She did considerable television work from the early 1950s into the 1980s, and closed her career playing, for the first time, opposite Bette Davis in the 1987 film, The Whales of August.

The American Film Institute (AFI) named Gish 17th among the greatest female stars of all time.[2] She was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in 1971, and in 1984 she received an AFI Life Achievement Award.

-------------------- Known as the "first lady of the silent screen," Lillian Gish's career spanned over 75 years. She was a prominent film star of the 1910s and 1920s, particularly associated with the films of director D.W. Griffith, including her leading role in Griffith's seminal Birth of a Nation (1915). Her sound-era film appearances were sporadic, but included memorable roles in the controversial western Duel in the Sun (1946) and the offbeat thriller Night of the Hunter (1955). She did considerable television work from the early 1950s into the 1980s, and closed her career playing, for the first time, opposite Bette Davis in the 1987 film, The Whales of August.

She was born Lillian Diana de Guiche on October 14, 1893 in Springfield, Ohio, the elder sister of actress Dorothy Gish. Their mother, Mary Robinson McConnell, began acting in order to support the family after her husband, James Leigh Gish (who was of German Lutheran descent) abandoned the family. When Lillian and Dorothy were old enough, they joined the theatre, often traveling separately in different productions. They also took modeling jobs.

A consummate actress, Lillian seemed to take delight in suffering for the art form that became her obsession. In order to experiment, Lillian worked in extreme conditions such as starvation, intense heat and bitter cold. Soon, she became the quintessential silent screen heroine, lovely and open to suffering. However, despite her characters' apparent weakness, Lillian's performances also let their inner strengths shine through.

Her stage debut took place in 1902 when she performed at The Little Red School House in Rising Sun, Ohio. From 1903 to 1904, with her mother and her sister Dorothy, Lillian toured in Her First False Step. The following year, she danced with the Sarah Bernardt production in New York City. From 1908 to 1911 she moved around, staying with various relatives. She lived with her aunt in Massillon, Ohio, with her mother in East St. Louis and briefly with her father in Oklahoma.

Lillian's film debut came in 1912, when she and her sister starred in An Unseen Enemy under the direction of D.W. Griffith. In 1913, during the production of A Good Little Devil, Lillian collapsed from anemia during a run of the play.

That same year, in The Mothering Heart, Lillian started showing signs of the emotional power hidden in the seemingly frail and hauntingly beautiful actress. Griffith utilized Lillian's aura to its fullest to develop the image of the suffering heroine. She also demonstrated an intense anger as shown in the same film, when she beats a bush after the death of her child. This intensity was present in all her films thereafter. Broken Blossoms is arguably Lillian's greatest silent film. The terror she expressed as her drunken father breaks down the door to the closet she was hiding in was communicated directly to the audience. She displayed that same intensity in Way Down East, when she baptizes a dying baby and in The Wind, where she roams, dying, through the streets of Montmartre. In 1920, she directed Dorothy Gish in Remodeling Her Husband and in 1922 she made Orphans in the Storm, her last film under Griffith's direction. She joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1924 and made her first "talkie" One Romantic Night in 1930. She then returned to the stage in Uncle Vanya.

During the 1930s Lillian began working in radio. She made her television debut in 1948 with the Philco Playhouse production The Late Christopher Bean. In 1969, Lillian began giving the film lecture "Lillian Gish and the Movies: The Art of Film, 1900-1928."

Lillian has been honored with many of the motion picture industry's top honors, including an honorary Academy Award, The American Film Institute Life Achievement Award and the D.W. Griffith Award for lifetime achievement.

She died in her sleep of natural causes on February 27, 1993, aged 99 and is interred at Saint Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in New York City. Gish never married or had children. Her estate, which she left to Hayes (who died a month later) was valued at several million dollars, and went to provide prizes for artistic excellence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lillian_Gish

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Lillian Gish's Timeline

1893
October 14, 1893
Springfield, Clark, Ohio, United States
1993
February 27, 1993
Age 99
New York, New York, United States
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