Best photos ( Lillian Gish )

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Birth information

14 October 1893 Springfield, Ohio, USA

Death information

27 February 1993 New York City, New York, USA

Given Name

Lillian Diana Gish

Nickname

The First Lady of American Cinema

How tall is Lillian Gish?

1.66 m

Life Story of Lillian Gish

Lillian and Dorothy Gish were born into a broken family. Her restless father, James Lee Gish, was frequently absent. Her mother, Mary Robinson McConnell, a.k.a. Mary Gish, her mother, had entered into acting to make money to support the family. As soon as Lillian and her younger sister were old enough, they became part of the act. To supplement their income, the two sisters also posed for pictures and acted in melodramas of the time. In 1912, they met fellow child actress Mary Pickford, and she got them extra work with Biograph films.

Director D.W. Griffith was impressed by both sisters, especially the elder, with her exquisitely fragile, ethereal beauty. Over the next decade, she became one of Griffith's greatest stars. She appeared in features such as The Birth of a Nation (1915), Broken Blossoms (1919), and Orphans of the Storm (1921). With Griffith, she became the greatest screen heroine of the time and was known as "The First Lady of the Silent Screen". She even directed a film, Remodeling Her Husband (1920), which starred her sister.

After 13 years with Griffith, she went to MGM, where her first picture was La Bohème (1926). Her new contract...

Significant features of Lillian Gish

Small frame
Doll-like looks
Early roles as innocent, virginal characters who are victimized by a cruel world
Later often played willful but conflicted women

How much money has Lillian Gish earned?

An Unseen Enemy (1912) $20
The White Sister (1923) $5,000 /week

Publications and Magazines about Lillian Gish

Stuart Oderman Lillian Gish: A Life on Stage and Screen. 2000
Charles Affron Lillian Gish: Her Legend, Her Life. 2001
Anthony Slide Lillian Gish. 1969
Albert P. Payne Life and Lillian Gish. 1932
Lillian Gish Dorothy and Lillian Gish. 1973
Lillian Gish, with Ann Pinchot The Movies, Mr. Griffith and Me. 1969

Biographical movies about Lillian Gish

AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Lillian Gish 1984
D.W. Griffith and Lillian Gish 2001
Lillian Gish 1983
American Masters: "Lillian Gish: The Actor's Life for Me" Episode #3.1 1988

What movies did Lillian Gish play or participate?

Producers Filmography
Silver Glory (1951) ,
Directors Filmography
Remodeling Her Husband (1920) ,
Actors Filmography
The Whales of August (1987) Sarah Webber, Sweet Liberty (1986) Cecelia Burgess, American Playhouse (1986) Mrs Loftus, Hambone and Hillie (1983) Hillie Radcliffe, Hobson's Choice (1983) Miss Molly Winkle, Thin Ice (1981) Grandmother, The Love Boat (1981) Mrs. Williams, Sparrow (1978) Widow, A Wedding (1978) Nettie Sloan, Twin Detectives (1976) Billy Jo Haskins, Arsenic and Old Lace (1969) Martha Brewster, The Comedians (1967)...

Birth information

14 October 1893 Springfield, Ohio, USA

Death information

27 February 1993 New York City, New York, USA

Given Name

Lillian Diana Gish

Nickname

The First Lady of American Cinema

How tall is Lillian Gish?

1.66 m

Life Story of Lillian Gish

Lillian and Dorothy Gish were born into a broken family. Her restless father, James Lee Gish, was frequently absent. Her mother, Mary Robinson McConnell, a.k.a. Mary Gish, her mother, had entered into acting to make money to support the family. As soon as Lillian and her younger sister were old enough, they became part of the act. To supplement their income, the two sisters also posed for pictures and acted in melodramas of the time. In 1912, they met fellow child actress Mary Pickford, and she got them extra work with Biograph films.

Director D.W. Griffith was impressed by both sisters, especially the elder, with her exquisitely fragile, ethereal beauty. Over the next decade, she became one of Griffith's greatest stars. She appeared in features such as The Birth of a Nation (1915), Broken Blossoms (1919), and Orphans of the Storm (1921). With Griffith, she became the greatest screen heroine of the time and was known as "The First Lady of the Silent Screen". She even directed a film, Remodeling Her Husband (1920), which starred her sister.

After 13 years with Griffith, she went to MGM, where her first picture was La Bohème (1926). Her new contract...

Significant features of Lillian Gish

Small frame
Doll-like looks
Early roles as innocent, virginal characters who are victimized by a cruel world
Later often played willful but conflicted women

How much money has Lillian Gish earned?

An Unseen Enemy (1912) $20
The White Sister (1923) $5,000 /week

Publications and Magazines about Lillian Gish

Stuart Oderman Lillian Gish: A Life on Stage and Screen. 2000
Charles Affron Lillian Gish: Her Legend, Her Life. 2001
Anthony Slide Lillian Gish. 1969
Albert P. Payne Life and Lillian Gish. 1932
Lillian Gish Dorothy and Lillian Gish. 1973
Lillian Gish, with Ann Pinchot The Movies, Mr. Griffith and Me. 1969

Biographical movies about Lillian Gish

AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Lillian Gish 1984
D.W. Griffith and Lillian Gish 2001
Lillian Gish 1983
American Masters: "Lillian Gish: The Actor's Life for Me" Episode #3.1 1988

What movies did Lillian Gish play or participate?

Producers Filmography
Silver Glory (1951) ,
Directors Filmography
Remodeling Her Husband (1920) ,
Actors Filmography
The Whales of August (1987) Sarah Webber, Sweet Liberty (1986) Cecelia Burgess, American Playhouse (1986) Mrs Loftus, Hambone and Hillie (1983) Hillie Radcliffe, Hobson's Choice (1983) Miss Molly Winkle, Thin Ice (1981) Grandmother, The Love Boat (1981) Mrs. Williams, Sparrow (1978) Widow, A Wedding (1978) Nettie Sloan, Twin Detectives (1976) Billy Jo Haskins, Arsenic and Old Lace (1969) Martha Brewster, The Comedians (1967)...

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Lillian Gish in Eine Blüte gebrochen (1919)

Following her death, she was interred beside her sister Dorothy Gish at Saint Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in New York City.

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Lillian Gish and Ralph Forbes in Der Herzschlag der Welt (1927)

In 1984 she received the American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Lillian Gish and Patricia Avery in Annie Laurie - Ein Heldenlied vom Hochland (1927)

Every year on her birthdate, October 14, New York's Museum of Modern Art shows at least one of her films or television performances.

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Lillian Gish in The Angel of Contention (1914)

She once autographed an 8mm copy of her film The Battle of Elderbush Gulch (1913) for a young filmmaker named Harry McDevitt.

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Lillian Gish and Raoul Walsh in The Angel of Contention (1914)

Related, on her mother's side, to United States President Zachary Taylor.

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Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, and Raoul Walsh in The Rebellion of Kitty Belle (1914)

She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1720 Vine St. on February 8, 1960.

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Lillian Gish in The Rebellion of Kitty Belle (1914)

After her amicable parting with D.W. Griffith she joined MGM in 1925, but was unceremoniously dumped when Greta Garbo emerged as a star. Considered a "sexless antique", she turned to radio and her first love, the theater. Ironically, MGM had Garbo on the set of The Scarlet Letter (1926) every day to watch Gish work as part of her apprenticeship.

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Lillian Gish and Henry B. Walthall in Home, Sweet Home (1914)

John Gilbert was infatuated with her, and would mess up his "love scenes" with her in the filming of La Bohème (1926) on purpose, so he could keep kissing her.

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Lillian Gish in The Hunchback (1914)

While shooting Way Down East (1920) she was required to lie down on a slab of ice that was floating in a river for several hours in order to shoot a scene. While she did this, one of her hands was immersed in freezing cold water for hours, which permanently damaged the nerves in her wrist.

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Lillian Gish in Die Geburt einer Nation (1915)

She held director D.W. Griffith in such high regard that, up until her death in 1993, she would always refer to him as "Mr. Griffith".

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Lillian Gish and Jennifer Jones in Duell in der Sonne (1946)

Lillian and Mary Pickford were childhood friends, but Mary tried to never be left alone with Lillian--remembering her mother's superstitious belief that "the good die young", Mary was in constant fear that Lillian would drop dead at any moment.

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Lillian Gish and Donald Crisp in The Battle of the Sexes (1914)

In 1999 the American Film Institute ranked her #19 on its list of the 50 Greatest American Female Screen Legends.

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Bette Davis and Lillian Gish in Wale im August (1987)

She was of English, French and German heritage.

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Lillian Gish in Wale im August (1987)

She and Dorothy Gish both started working for D.W. Griffith in the early days of American Mutoscope & Biograph. While it has been claimed that Griffith was immediately infatuated with Lillian, in their first film for him, An Unseen Enemy (1912), he thought they were twins. According to Lillian's autobiography, he had to tie different colored hair ribbons on the girls to tell them apart and give them direction: "Red, you hear a strange noise. Run to your sister. Blue, you're scared too. Look toward me, where the camera is.".

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Lillian Gish in An Innocent Magdalene (1916)

She was taught how to shoot by notorious western outlaw Al J. Jennings, who was in one of her early films (after having served a long term in prison for train robbery). When John Huston and Burt Lancaster took her to the desert to teach her how to shoot for The Unforgiven (1960), they were astounded to discover she could shoot more accurately and faster than they did. She found that she liked shooting, and over the years had developed into an expert shot.

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Lillian Gish in Eine Hochzeit (1978)

She was originally a member of the America First Committee, which advocated against US intervention in WWII. It was not an uncommon position to be against America joining the war, with polls showing that 40% of Americans agreed at one point, but eventually Nazi brutality made anti-war sentiment a radical opinion--one most infamously associated with the fascist-sympathizing Charles Lindbergh. Gish was against any war due to her experience filming "Hearts of the World" (1918), a WWI propaganda film, with D.W. Griffith in war-time France, in which she saw the horrors the Great War had unleashed. On why she opposed American involvement in WWII, Gish said, "If I could save one American life and ruin my career in doing so, I would consider my career well lost." However, she resigned as a member of the committee several months before Pearl Harbor, and would later write a letter, "I made War Propaganda", in the periodical Scribner's Commentator. After war was declared on Germany in December 1941, isolationism fell heavily out of favor with the dominant sentiment of the nation but Mary Pickford defended her: "This lady is as you and I are. She was merely against war".

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Robert Mitchum, Lillian Gish, and Gloria Castillo in Die Nacht des Jägers (1955)

In 1970 she wrote to congratulate California's First Lady Nancy Reagan after the Governor's wife likened anti-war protesters to Nazis in an interview. "Every time you and Ronnie open your mouths you echo my thoughts," Gish wrote.

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Lillian Gish and Jennifer Jones in Duell in der Sonne (1946)

Left her entire estate, which was valued at several million dollars, to Helen Hayes. Hayes died 18 days after Gish.

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Lionel Barrymore, Joseph Cotten, Lillian Gish, etc.

She was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

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D.W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks, Lillian Gish, and G.W. Bitzer in Intoleranz (1916)

She maintained a very close relationship with her sister Dorothy Gish, as well as with Mary Pickford, for her entire life. She never married or had children.

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Lillian Gish and Roy D'Arcy in Mimi (1926)

She met with Benito Mussolini, whom she greatly admired, during a visit to Italy.

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Lillian Gish in Denen man nicht vergibt (1960)

She has never appeared in a film nominated for the the Best Picture Oscar.

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Lillian Gish and John Gilbert in Mimi (1926)

She had a film career that spanned 75 years. This was regarded as the longest acting career of any movie legend of the first 100 years of film. Her first film was An Unseen Enemy (1912) in 1912 and her last was The Whales of August (1987) in 1987.

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Lillian Gish and Norman Kerry in Annie Laurie - Ein Heldenlied vom Hochland (1927)

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Bette Davis and Lillian Gish in Wale im August (1987)

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Lillian Gish and Jennifer Jones in Duell in der Sonne (1946)

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D.W. Griffith, Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Kate Bruce, Burr McIntosh, etc.

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Lillian Gish in One Romantic Night (1930)

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Lauren Bacall, Charles Boyer, Lillian Gish, Richard Widmark, Gloria Grahame, etc.

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Charles Boyer, Lillian Gish, and Richard Widmark in Die Verlorenen (1955)

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Richard Burton and Lillian Gish in Die Stunde der Komödianten (1967)

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Robert Mitchum, Lillian Gish, and Gloria Castillo in Die Nacht des Jägers (1955)

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