Lillian Gish


October 20, 2021

Lillian Diana Gish (October 14, 1893 in Springfield, Ohio - February 27, 1993 in New York) was an American actress. Childhood and adolescence Lillian Gish was born in Springfield, Ohio. Her parents were Mary Robinson McConnell and James Leigh Gish. After the father abandoned the family, the mother of Lillian and his younger sister Dorothy supported the family by acting. The family moved to Illinois with Lillian's uncle and aunt. Their mother opened a candy store called Majestic Candy Kitchen next door to the Old Majestic Theater. Lillian and her sister attended St. Henry’s School, where they performed at school plays. They also helped her mother sell popcorn and sweets at the kiosk. When Lillian heard about her father James ’illness, she traveled to Oklahoma to meet her dying father. He lived for a short time with his aunt Maude Gish, and after his father died in January 1912, he returned to Ohio. When the theater next to the candy store burned to the ground, Mary moved with her daughter to New York. There, the sisters became friends with a girl living next door, child actress Gladys Smith, who later became famous under the artist name Mary Pickford. When the sisters became old enough, they began acting in the theater with their mother and working as models. Mary Pickford introduced sisters to D.W. Griffith, and got them a contract with Biograph Studios. Their first role was in the silent film An Unseen Enemy, directed by Griffith, in 1912. Although Gish was already 19 at the time, he informed the studio at the age of 16.


After appearing in more than 25 short films during the first two years of his Hollywood career, Gish became one of the stars of the silent film and is often nicknamed "The First Lady of the Silent Screen." Lillian Gish favored silent films and rejected sound films until MGM finally agreed to release her from her contract in 1928. In the 1930s and early 1940s, Gish acted in the theater and cared for the aging Griffith and his wife. However, in many other ways, Lillian Gish’s career did not end with the advent of sound film. After returning to film, he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1946 for his film Duel in the Sun. Gish appeared in films from time to time almost to the end of his life and won a special Oscar for his career in 1971. He last starred in 1987 in The Whales of August with Bette Davis and Ann Sothern. There were 75 years between Lillian Gish’s first and last film, with which achievement she reached the Guinness Book of Records; the record has since been broken. Gish was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Film Institute in 1984.


Lillian Gish was never married and had no children. He died at the age of 99 of heart failure in 1993.

Selected filmography

The Birth of a Nation (1915) Intolerance (Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages, 1916) Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl, 1919 Through the Storm (Way Down East, 1920) Orphans of the Storm, 1921 Bohemian Life (La Boheme, 1926) Fiery Red Letter (The Scarlet Letter, 1926) They Come Back (Commandos Strike at Dawn, 1942) Duel in the Sun (1946) Dream of Jenny (Portrait of Jennie, 1948) The Night of the Hunter (1955) Secret Mission in Paris (Orders to Kill, 1958) Unforgiven (1960) Here It Is (Follow Me, Boys !, 1966) Death Shot (Warning Shot, 1967) Actors (The Comedians, 1967) What a wedding! (A Wedding, 1978) Wonderful Freedom (Sweet Liberty, 1986) Whales of August (1987) Sources

Elsewhere on the topic

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