Gloria Stuart

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Gloria Stuart
Gloria Stuart Argentinean Magazine AD.jpg
Stuart in 1937
Born Gloria Stewart
(1910-07-04)July 4, 1910
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Died September 26, 2010(2010-09-26) (aged 100)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Respiratory failure; lung cancer
Education University of California, Berkeley
Occupation Actress, artist, fine printer
Spouse(s) Blair Gordon Newell
(1930–1934; divorced)
Arthur Sheekman
(1934–1978; his death)
Children Sylvia Vaughn Thompson (b. 1935)

Gloria Stewart, known as Gloria Stuart, (July 4, 1910 – September 26, 2010) was an American actress and artist. Stuart began her acting career in the theater. In the 1930s and 1940s, she performed in little theater and summer stock on both coasts. Her career in the movies spanned from 1932 to 2004—with a twenty-nine year break.

Her iconic film role was the 100-year-old elder Rose Dawson in James Cameron's 1997 film Titanic, for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Receiving her nomination at eighty-seven, she is the oldest person ever nominated for an Academy Award for acting.[1]

Early life (1910–1931)[edit]

Here with James Cagney from the 1934 film Here Comes the Navy.

Stuart was born Gloria Stewart [2] at 11:00 p.m. on the Fourth of July at home in Santa Monica.[3][A] Stuart's father, Frank Stewart, born in Washington state[5] was an attorney representing The Six Companies, Chinese tongs in San Francisco. Stuart's brother, Frank Jr.,[6] was born eleven months later. In two years, their brother Thomas was born, but he died of spinal meningitis aged three years.[3]

When Stuart was nine years old, her father was fatally injured when hit by a car.[7] Hard-pressed to support two small children, her mother soon accepted the proposal of local businessman Fred J. Finch.[B][8] Stuart went through school as Gloria Fae Finch.[9] Since her parents did not give her a middle name, she often adopted one (sometimes it was Frances, the feminine of Frank, her father's name).

Acting and writing[edit]

At Santa Monica High School, Stuart acted in plays, had the lead in her senior class play, The Swan.[10] She loved writing as much as acting, and spent her last two summers in high school taking short story and poetry writing classes[11] and working as a cub reporter for the Santa Monica Outlook.[12]

At the University of California at Berkeley, Stuart majored in philosophy and drama, appeared in more plays, worked on the Daily Californian,[13] contributed to the campus literary journal, Occident and posed as an artist's model. It was at Berkeley that she began signing her name, Gloria Stuart.[C]

A Bohemian life in Carmel (1930–1932)[edit]

At the end of her junior year, in June, 1930, Stuart married Blair Gordon Newell,[14] a young sculptor who apprenticed with Ralph Stackpole on the facade of the San Francisco Stock Exchange building.[15] The Newells moved to Carmel-by-the-Sea where there was a stimulating community of artists and movers and shakers such as Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Robinson Jeffers and Lincoln Steffens and his wife Ella Winter.

Stuart acted at the Theatre of the Golden Bough and worked many jobs on The Carmelite newspaper. In her spare time she hand-sewed aprons, patchwork pillows and tea linens and created bouquets of dried flowers for a tea shop where she also waited on tables when needed.[16] Newell laid brick, chopped and stacked wood, taught sculpture and woodworking, and managed a miniature golf course. They lived in a shack in the middle of a wood yard as night watchmen.[17]

Hollywood--first pass (1932–1939)[edit]

Gloria Stuart, fourth from left, top row, with the rest of the 1932 WAMPAS Baby Stars.

Stuart's theater work in Carmel brought her to the attention of Gilmor Brown's private theater, The Playbox, in Pasadena. She was invited there to appear as Masha in Chekhov's The Seagull.[18] Opening night, casting directors from Paramount and Universal were in the audience. Both came backstage to arrange a screen test, both studios claimed her. Finally the studios flipped a coin and Universal won the toss.[13] Stuart considered herself a serious actress in theater but she and Newell "were stony broke, living hand to mouth" so she decided to sign a contract.[19]

Stuart does not mention it in her book, but the Internet Movie Database includes her with thirty other players in a slapstick comedy, The Cohens and Kellys in Hollywood, A Behind-the-Scenes Farce.[20] Produced by Universal in the spring of 1932, this is likely Gloria Stuart's first appearance before the camera. Stuart actually began her movie career by playing an ingénue confronting her father's mistress in Street of Women, a Pre-Code fallen-women film. Stuart's second turn, again playing the ingénue, was in a football-hero movie, The All-American.

In early December, 1932, the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers announced that Gloria Stuart was one of fifteen new movie actresses "Most Likely to Succeed"—she was a WAMPAS Baby Star. Ginger Rogers, Mary Carlisle, Eleanor Holm were among the others.[21]

Stuart's career advanced when English director James Whale chose her for the glamor role in his ensemble cast (Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton, Lilian Bond, Ernest Thesiger, Eva Moore and Raymond Massey) for The Old Dark House. The movie became a cult classic.

Stuart was given her first co-starring role by director John Ford in her next film, Air Mail, playing opposite Pat O'Brien and Ralph Bellamy. Of her performance in the movie, the New York Times Mordaunt Hall wrote, "Gloria Stuart, who does so well in The Old Dark House, a picture now at the Rialto, makes the most of the part of the girl..."[22] That two Gloria Stuart movies were in theaters simultaneously became the rule rather than the exception in her early career. In 1932, her first year, Stuart had four films released, then nine in 1933, six in 1934. In 1935, Stuart was having a baby, so only four movies were released. Six movies followed in 1936. After Air Mail, Mordaunt Hall's notices for Gloria Stuart came down to a few words. Laughter in Hell: "Gloria Stuart appears as Lorraine...";[23] Sweepings: "...played by the comely Gloria Stuart...";[24] Private Jones: "Gloria Stuart is charming..."[25]

James Whale called Stuart back for just one scene in The Kiss Before the Mirror, but the critic Hall wrote, "There are those who may think that it is too bad to introduce as one of the players the dainty Gloria Stuart and have her killed off in the first episode of the narrative. Perhaps it is, but a pretty girl was needed for the part and Mr. Whale obviously did not wish to weaken his production by casting an incompetent actress or an unattractive one for this minor role."[26]

After good notices in The Girl in 419, (Mordaunt Hall mentions "...the pleasing acting of the attractive Gloria Stuart),[27] and Secret of the Blue Room ("Miss Stuart gives a pleasing performance."),[28] James Whale cast Gloria Stuart opposite Claude Rains in The Invisible Man. Rains was a celebrated import from the London stage and this was his first Hollywood film. (Mordaunt Hall's review of Stuart's work was a temperate, "Miss Stuart also does well by her role."[29]) The Invisible Man also became a cult favorite.

In 1934, Universal loaned-out Stuart to Warner Brothers for Here Comes the Navy. Stuart co-starred with James Cagney and Pat O'Brien, the first of nine films featuring this male team. Frank S. Nugent wrote in the New York Times, "Supporting Mr. Cagney--and doing very creditable jobs, too--are Pat O'Brien, Gloria Stuart..."[30][31]

In 1935, Stuart was cast as Dick Powell's love interest in Busby Berkeley's, Gold Diggers of 1935. It was a musical; Stuart did not dance or sing, and the New York Times critic commented: "Nor has Gloria Stuart anything of vast import to contribute in the position usually occupied by Ruby Keeler."[32]

In that same year, Stuart left Universal and joined Twentieth Century-Fox. Her first assignment from the studio head, Darryl F. Zanuck, was in Professional Soldier supporting the child star Freddie Bartholomew and Academy Award winner Victor McLaglen (the year before, McLaglen won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role in John Ford's The Informer). Frank S. Nugent noted: "There is a minor romance along the way between Gloria Stuart, the king's noble governess, and Michael Whalen, the professional soldier's part-time assistant, but no one should take it seriously."[33]

In 1936, John Ford chose Stuart to co-star with Warner Baxter in The Prisoner of Shark Island. Playing the wife of the doctor who treated Lincoln's assassin, Stuart felt privileged to work again with Ford,[34] although the New York Times Frank S. Nugent wrote of Stuart's "...helpful performance..."[35] In Poor Little Rich Girl, Stuart again was asked to support a child star: this time, Shirley Temple. Frank S. Nugent: "Listing [Temple's] supporting players hastily, then, before we forget them entirely, we might mention Miss Faye [and] Gloria Stuart…as having been permitted a scene or two while Miss Temple was out freshening her costume."[36]

For the rest of 1936 and through 1937, Zanuck placed Stuart in movies such as The Girl on the Front Page—Frank S. Nugent's note: "Call it mediocre and extend your sympathies to the cast…"[37] Reviewing Girl Overboard, Nugent begins, "In the definitive words of the currently popular threnode featured by a frog-voiced radio singer, Universal's 'Girl Overboard'…is 'nuthin' but a nuthin',' and a Class B nuthin' at that."[38] The Lady Escapes, Life Begins in College and Change of Heart did not even merit space in the New York Times movie pages. In 1938, Zanuck again insisted Stuart support Shirley Temple. Of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Variety wrote: "Shirley Temple proves she's a great little artist in this one. The rest of it is synthetic and disappointing... More fitting title would be Rebecca of Radio City."[39][40] In 1938, for the fourth time, Stuart was a supporting player to a child star: Jane Withers in Keep Smiling. Stuart but not her performance is noted in the New York Times review.[41]

In Time Out for Murder, Stuart's reviewer said she was "…a pretty bill collector".[42] Then in 1939, the last year in this phase of Stuart's career, in The Three Musketeers, Stuart's billing came after Don Ameche, The Ritz Brothers and Binnie Barnes and again Stuart's work was not reviewed. In Winner Take All, the Times critic wrote, "…the only thing worth seeing in the picture is Tony Martin trying to play a prizefighter. This is positively killing."[43] It Could Happen to You, "a quasi-comedy"[44] co-starring Stuart Erwin, finished the eight years. Again Stuart is not mentioned.

What did give the actress space in the movie pages the previous November was the story: "Gloria Stuart Quits Fox...Gloria Stuart has terminated her contract with Fox..."[45] In fact, Darryl Zanuck did not renew Stuart's contract.[46]

Arthur Sheekman (1933–1978)[edit]

Stuart's sculptor husband, Gordon Newell, was unhappy with Hollywood life. He and Stuart separated amicably and divorced.[47] In 1933 on the set of her film Roman Scandals, a comedy starring Eddie Cantor, Stuart met Arthur Sheekman, one of the movie's writers.[48] They were "instantly attracted to each other".[48] Stuart and Sheekman married in August, 1934[49] and their daughter, Sylvia – named after Princess Sylvia, Stuart’s character in Roman Scandals – was born the following June.[50]

Sheekman began his writing career as a journalist, first in St. Paul then Chicago. When the Marx Brothers came to Chicago touring in The Cocoanuts in 1926 and then Animal Crackers in 1928,[51] Sheekman interviewed them for his Chicago Times column, "Ahead of the Times." [52][53] Groucho Marx urged Sheekman to come to Hollywood to write for the brothers. In 1930, Sheekman made the move. He became one of Groucho's closest friends and collaborated (often without credit) on Marx Brothers movies such as Monkey Business, Horse Feathers and Duck Soup. Sheekman also worked on Marx’s 1932 radio show, Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel and ghost wrote Marx's small book, Beds.[54] After Roman Scandals, Sheekman worked on more comedies for Eddie Cantor as well as for Shirley Temple and Joe E. Brown.[55]

Activist (1933–1939)[edit]

At UC Berkeley when she was seventeen, Stuart wanted to join the Young Communist League. She wrote, "I was told it was for the poor and the oppressed. That appealed to me. But membership wasn't open to anyone under eighteen, so I couldn't join."[56] In Carmel, she notes that her friendship with muckraker Lincoln Steffens gave her "...much deeper insight into the abuses of laborers and blue-collar workers and made me ready to work for liberal causes when I got to Hollywood a few years later."[56] In 1933 Stuart was one of the first stars to work toward an actors’ union[57] and was one of thirty-nine new Class A members of the Screen Actors Guild.[58][59] In June, 1936, she helped Paul Muni, Franchot Tone, Ernst Lubitsch, and Oscar Hammerstein II form the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League.[60] That same year she and writer Dorothy Parker helped create the League to Support the Spanish Civil War Orphans.[60] In 1938 as a member of the Hollywood Democratic Committee, Stuart was on the Executive Board of the California State Democratic Committee.[60]

Away from Hollywood (1939–1943)[edit]

A trip around the world (1939)[edit]

Early in 1939, their studio assignments completed, Stuart and Sheekman decided to go around the world before war broke out.[61] For four months, they toured Asia, Egypt and Italy, then landed in France just as France and England declared war on Germany.[62] They appealed to the American consul, asking to stay, Sheekman as a war correspondent, Stuart as a hospital volunteer. The consul refused help, told them they had to go home. They caught the SS President Adams, the last American passenger ship to cross the Atlantic, [63] and arrived in New York in September.

A taste of theater (1940–1943)[edit]

Stuart and Sheekman stayed in New York. Stuart wanted to work in the theater again and Sheekman hoped to write a play.[64] Stuart was welcomed into summer stock. In theaters up and down the east coast, she performed in Man and Superman, The Animal Kingdom, The Night of January 16th, Accent on Youth, Route 101, Mr. and Mrs. North, The Pursuit of Happiness, Here Today, Sailor Beware and was Emily to Thornton Wilder’s Stage Manager—under Wilder’s own direction—in Our Town.[65]

But for two years, as many readings, lunches and cocktail parties as she attended, no director, producer or writer (not even Sheekman) gave Stuart a role on Broadway. [66]

Sheekman worked on his comic play, collaborating with a colleague from newspaper days, Margaret Shane.[67] Their Mr. Big opened on Broadway but closed after seven performances.[68] Then Sheekman collaborated with Ruth and Augustus Goetz (years later their play and screenplay, The Heiress, won prizes). Franklin Street closed out of town.[69]

Creativity without (much) acting (1943–1975)[edit]

After more than three years away, the Sheekmans returned to Hollywood.[70]

An idea for a movie for Danny Kaye (Wonder Man) returned Sheekman to the studio and he was back at work.[55]

To help with the war effort,[71] Stuart took singing and dancing lessons, then the USO teamed her with actress Hillary Brooke.[72] The two blonde actresses toured the country, visited hospitals, danced with servicemen in canteens, sold war bonds. Stuart "wanted terribly to volunteer for service overseas with the USO, but Arthur wouldn't hear of it."[73]

Stuart asked her former agents to get her work. Her first movie in four years, Here Comes Elmer, was a comedy with music starring Roy Rogers’ wife, Dale Evans. In The Whistler—an early directing credit of the horror specialist, William Castle—Stuart co-starred with Richard Dix. In Enemy of Women, Stuart was seventh in billing.[73] Two years later, Stuart took one more role: she wore a redhead's wig in a comedy starring Joan Davis and Jack Oakie. Stuart does not mention She Wrote the Book in her autobiography. [74]

Décor Ltd. (1946–1949)[edit]

An example of découpage by Gloria Stuart.

Not long after this last movie, Stuart went to New York with Sheekman—Paramount sent him to see the new play Dream Girl wanting him to adapt it for to screen. A friend took Stuart to the studio of a découpage artist. Drawn to the art form, Stuart thought it could replace acting in her life.[75] With Sheekman's encouragement, she opened a shop on Los Angeles's decorators’ row, named it Décor, Ltd.[76] Stuart created découpaged lamps, mirrors, tables, chests and other one of a kind objets d'art. Over the next four years, her work gained attention and her pieces were carried by Lord & Taylor in New York, Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Bullock’s in Pasadena and Gump’s in San Francisco. But in time, labor involved in "the fine fine cutting, applying sixteen coats of lacquer" to every piece[77] and other costs proved prohibitive and Stuart closed her shop.

A house and a garden (1948–1954)[edit]

After living in rented spaces for ten years, Stuart and Sheekman bought an old craftsman-style house on an acre of ground that wanted tending. In the house, Stuart redesigned the interior, supervised the remodeling, designed all the furniture and had it custom made. In the garden, she planned the landscaping, included a green house for orchids and lath house for grafting fruit trees, spent hours on her knees cultivating and planting. In Stuart’s words, “I became a whirling dervish of creative renovation.”[78]

Painting and serigraphy (1954–1983)[edit]

One of Stuart's Watts Towers, January 1972

Early in 1954, visiting Paris, Stuart first saw the Impressionist paintings at the Jeu de Paume museum. As when she first saw découpage, Stuart wanted to do it, too.[79] The Sheekmans were on their way to Italy. At the time, American artists living abroad for at least eighteen months paid no taxes on income earned during the residency.[80] Sheekman was now very successful. In the eight years since returning from New York, he had been on fourteen movies, mostly writing the screenplays. He wanted to try another play.[81] For the next eighteen months, Stuart painted and Sheekman worked on his play.[82]

Sheekman's comedy about a sorrowful comic, The Joker, had Tommy Noonan for its star and was booked into The Playhouse Theater in New York to open April 5, 1957. April 1st, it was announced the play was terminating a pre-Broadway tour of three-and-one-half weeks in Washington DC and was "taken off for repairs."[83] Repairs were never made.

Then after seven years of working at her easel every day, Stuart was ready to show her paintings. In September, 1961, Victor Hammer gave Stuart a debut one-woman show at his Hammer Galleries in New York.[84] Nearly all of her forty canvases sold.[84] In the following years, Stuart exhibited her primitive-style paintings in many shows, including at the Bianchini Gallery in New York, the Simon Patrich Galleries and The Egg and the Eye in Los Angeles, the Galerie du Jonelle in Palm Springs and the Staircase Gallery in Beverly Hills. Stuart’s paintings are in numerous private collections and the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of New Mexico (Santa Fe), the Desert Museum of Palm Springs and the Belhaven Museum (Jackson, Mississippi).[85]

Stuart had been painting for nearly thirty years when, as she noted in her book, “…the challenges to me of painting as a primitive had been wearing a little thin, and I had become fascinated by the complex art form of serigraphy—silk screening." Stuart studied with serigrapher Evelyn Johnson then created vivid serigraphs that are also in private collections.[86]

Bonsai (1970–2010)[edit]

Bonsai called "French Black Oak Forest" was created by Gloria Stuart in 1982 after returning from France where she gathered the acorns in the royal forest at Fontainebleau.

In the late 1960s, Sheekman's health began to decline and gradually he showed symptoms of dementia. It was then that Stuart embraced another art form, the art of bonsai. She took classes from Frank Nagata, colleague of John Naka, a bonsai master in Los Angeles,[87] joined Nagata’s bonsai club, Baiko-En, and became one of the first Anglo members of the California Bonsai Society. Eventually Stuart's collection numbered over one hundred miniature trees.[88] Some of her trees are in the bonsai collection of the Botanical Gardens of the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.

Hollywood—second pass—and new passions (1975–2010)[edit]

Bit parts and Peter O’Toole (1975–1989)[edit]

In 1975, Stuart decided to return to acting. She got an agent who got her bit parts, mostly in television--"guest appearances" on series such as The Waltons and Murder, She Wrote--Stuart was back before the camera.[89] Her friend director Nancy Malone gave her a leading role in Merlene of the Movies, a quirky film for television, and other friends gave her parts in their shows. In 1982 came My Favorite Year. Although Stuart's scene lasted moments and she had no lines, she was dancing with Peter O'Toole. She wrote, "It was a great privilege to work with him."[71] [90] After that, Stuart was in Jack Lemmon's Mass Appeal and Goldie Hawn's Wildcats, then more bits and pieces in television.[91]

Ward Ritchie (1983–1996)[edit]

Arthur Sheekman died in January, 1978.[92] Five years later, Ward Ritchie, a close friend of Stuart’s first husband, Gordon Newell, sent Stuart one of his books. Ritchie had become a celebrated printer, book designer and printing historian.[93] With his commercial Ward Ritchie Press and private Laguna Verde Imprenta press, Ritchie produced distinguished books on the arts, poetry, cookery and the American West. Stuart invited him to dinner and they fell in love. Ritchie was seventy-eight and Stuart seventy-two.[94]

Imprenta Glorias (1984–2010)[edit]

When Stuart first followed Ritchie into his studio and watched him pull a printed page from his 1839 English iron Albion hand press, she wanted to do it, too.[95] After studying typesetting at the Women’s Workshop in Los Angeles, Stuart bought her own hand press, a Vandercook SP15[96] and established her own private press, Imprenta Glorias.

Stuart’s next discovery was the Artist’s book.[97] She designed the books, wrote the text (often poetry), set the type—carefully selecting the style of type to match the subject--printed the pages, then decorated the pages with water colors, silk screen, découpage or all three. She created large artist’s books and books in miniature. Several of her books took her years.[98]

Through Ritchie, Stuart was introduced to prestigious librarians and bibliophiles from San Francisco to Paris.[99] Imprenta Glorias books can be found in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Huntington Library, J. Paul Getty Museum, the Library of Congress, the Los Angeles Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Morgan Library & Museum, the New York Public Library, the Occidental College Library, the Princeton University library, the UCLA Clark Library, the Victoria and Albert Museum as well as private collections.[100]

Stuart and Ritchie were together for thirteen years until his death from pancreatic cancer in 1996.[101]

Titanic (1996–1998)[edit]

May Day, 1996, Stuart came in from printing in her studio and checked her answering machine. "A female voice said she was calling from Lightstorm Entertainment...about a movie to be shot on location, maybe Poland...about the Titanic, directed by James Cameron..." [102] The next afternoon, Cameron’s casting director, Mali Finn, came to Stuart’s house "…with her assistant, Emily Schweber, who was carrying a video camera... Mali and I talked while Emily filmed us."[103] The next morning, Finn brought over James Cameron and his video camera. Stuart wrote, "I was not the least bit nervous. I knew I would read Old Rose with the sympathy and tenderness that Cameron had intended…"[104] Five days after Stuart's eighty-sixth birthday, Finn phoned again and asked, “Gloria, how would you like to be Old Rose?”[105]

Most of Stuart’s filming was completed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, over about three weeks in early summer. [106] But the complex movie, events connected with it and the consequences of Stuart’s new status in Hollywood filled the next year. Stuart filmed and made recordings for several documentaries, did more looping and dubbing for Cameron, received offers of scripts. Stuart wrote, "On April 7, 1997, the publicity blitz for Titanic kicked off… From that point on, the deluge of publicity never stopped."[107]

Life after Titanic (1997–2010)[edit]

Honors and perks of being Old Rose[edit]

December 17th, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated Stuart for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture—Titanic."[108]

On February 10, 1998, the Academy Awards nominations were announced on radio and television. Gloria Stuart was among the names for Best Performance by an Actress in A Supporting Role. Stuart remembered, "..the phone began to ring, and I happily thought, 'Finally!'" [109]

March 8, 1998, Stuart’s union, the Screen Actors Guild, awarded Stuart their Founders Award.[110] Then for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Stuart tied with Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential).[111] For both awards, Stuart received a standing ovation from her peers. [112]

The following May, People magazine included Stuart on their list of "The 50 most beautiful people in the World in 1998." [113] Also in May, Stuart was guest of honor at the Great Steamboat Race between the Belle of Louisville and the Delta Queen and then was Grand Marshal of the 1998 Kentucky Derby Festival’s Pegasus Parade.[114]

Next, Stuart signed a contract with Little, Brown and Company to write her autobiography, I Just Kept Hoping.

In June, Stuart filmed a cameo appearance parodying Old Rose for the Hanson music video River.[115]

Stuart made her debut at The Hollywood Bowl on July 19, 1998 reading the poem, Standing Stone, Paul McCartney’s oratorio for orchestra and chorus.[116]

Stuart was asked by the producer and star, Kate Capshaw, to join her cast of The Love Letter. Mid-August, Stuart went on location to Rockport, Maine, and filmed her comic role.[117]

In October 1999, Stuart’s native Santa Monica issued a Commendation signed by the mayor recognizing Gloria Stuart "…for many contributions world-wide and her inspirational message to always keep hoping. Dated this 16th day of October, 1999. Pam O’Connor, Mayor."[118]

In September, 2000, Stuart unveiled her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. GLORIA STUART inlaid in brass lies in front of the old Pig 'n Whistle. The café opened its doors when Stuart was in high school.[119]

Even though once again reduced to minor roles, Stuart's last two movies were for the respected German director, Wim Wenders. In 1999 Stuart worked on The Million Dollar Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. In 2004, Wenders found a spot for Stuart in his Land of Plenty, her final film.

On June 19, 2010, Stuart was honored by the Screen Actors Guild for her years of service. At a luncheon, she was presented the Ralph Morgan Award by Titanic co-star Frances Fisher.[120]

On July 22, 2010, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Stuart’s career with a program featuring film clips and conversations between Stuart and film historian Leonard Maltin, portrait artist Don Bachardy and David S. Zeidberg, the Avery Director of the Huntington Library.[121] One thousand people filled the Samuel Goldwyn Theater.[122]

From the time Stuart was announced in the Titanic cast, she appeared before the camera for interviews on subjects as diverse as Groucho Marx, Shirley Temple, James Whale, horror movies and friends Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy [123]

Coping with illness and infirmity (1984–2010)[edit]

Just after Ward Ritchie came back in her life, Stuart discovered she had breast cancer. It was caught early, she had a lumpectomy followed with radiation, then ignored it.[124] Stuart’s breast cancer did not return.

But twenty years later, when she was ninety-four, Stuart was diagnosed with lung cancer.[125] Stuart had radiation, but in time the cancer returned and Stuart underwent a shorter course of radiation. The malignancy continued to spread, but slowly due to Stuart's age. She lived six years after her initial diagnosis.[126]

100th birthday and death (July 4, 1910 – September 26, 2010)[edit]

On the day of Stuart’s 100th birthday, James and Suzy Cameron hosted Stuart’s family and friends at the ACE Gallery in Beverly Hills. There Stuart saw many of her paintings and serigraphs, artist’s books, samples of her découpage and trees from her bonsai collection exhibited in the gallery. [127]

Stuart’s Baiko-En bonsai club gave her a gala birthday party at the Huntington Library.

Stuart died on the afternoon of September 26, 2010.[D]


At the time of her death, she had four grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.

Stuart's grandson, Benjamin Stuart Thompson, is working on a documentary, The Secret Life of Old Rose. The film explores Stuart's long acting career as well as her career as an artist, fine printer and bonsai enthusiast.

Gloria Stuart's great-granddaughter, Deborah B. Thompson, produced an e-book, Butterfly Summers: A Memoir of Gloria Stuart's Apprentice.[128] Thompson was one of several artists who, over a period of years, assisted Stuart on her masterwork, Gloria Stuart’s Flight of Butterfly Kites. Thompson's observations of Stuart's creative process—and how to print on Stuarts hand press—make it a unique chronicle.

Gloria Stuart's paintings are represented by the Papillon Gallery in Los Angeles and I Dated Oppenheimer, her last miniature artist's book, is represented by Lorson's Books and Prints. Pieces of Gloria Stuart's découpage turn up in antique shops occasionally. Studio photographs signed by Gloria Stuart still circulate on the Internet.


A few sources include Back Street in Stuart's filmography, stating her performance is uncredited. Since Stuart does not mention the film in her book, since uncredited performances are routinely included in the Internet Movie Database cast lists but Gloria Stuart is not listed in Back Street, this film is not included.

Year Title Director Female Billing
1932 Street of Women Archie Mayo 2nd
1932 The All-American Russell Mack 1st
1932 The Old Dark House James Whale 3rd
1932 Air Mail John Ford 1st
1933 Laughter in Hell Edward L. Cahn 2nd
1933 Sweepings John Cromwell 1st
1933 Private Jones Russell Mack 1st
1933 The Kiss Before the Mirror James Whale 2nd
1933 The Girl in 419 Alexander Hall, George Somnes 1st
1933 It's Great to Be Alive Alfred L. Werker 2nd
1933 Secret of the Blue Room Kurt Neumann 1st
1933 The Invisible Man James Whale 1st
1933 Roman Scandals Frank Tuttle 2nd
1934 Beloved Victor Schertzinger 1st
1934 I Like It That Way Harry Lachman 1st
1934 I'll Tell the World Edward Sedgwick 1st
1934 The Love Captive Max Marcin 1st
1934 Here Comes the Navy Lloyd Bacon 1st
1934 Gift of Gab Karl Freund 1st
1935 Maybe It's Love William McGann 1st
1935 Gold Diggers of 1935 Busby Berkeley 1st
1935 Laddie George Stevens 1st
1935 Professional Soldier Tay Garnett 1st
1936 The Prisoner of Shark Island John Ford 1st
1936 The Crime of Dr. Forbes George Marshall 1st
1936 Poor Little Rich Girl Irving Cummings 3rd
1936 36 Hours to Kill Eugene Forde 1st
1936 The Girl on the Front Page Harry Beaumont 1st
1936 Wanted: Jane Turner Edward Killy 1st
1937 Girl Overboard Sidney Salkow 1st
1937 The Lady Escapes Eugene Forde 1st
1937 Life Begins in College William A. Seiter 2nd
1938 Change of Heart James Tinling 1st
1938 Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Allan Dwan 2nd
1938 Island in the Sky Herbert I. Leeds 1st
1938 Keep Smiling Herbert I. Leeds 2nd
1938 Time Out for Murder H. Bruce Humberstone 1st
1938 The Lady Objects Erle C. Kenton 1st
1939 The Three Musketeers Allan Dwan 2nd
1939 Winner Take All Otto Brower 1st
1939 It Could Happen to You Alfred L. Werker 1st
1943 Here Comes Elmer Joseph Santley 2nd
1944 The Whistler William Castle 1st
1944 Enemy of Women Alfred Zeisler 3rd
1946 She Wrote the Book Charles Lamont 3rd
1982 My Favorite Year Richard Benjamin ~
1984 Mass Appeal Glenn Jordan ~
1986 Wildcats Michael Ritchie ~
1997 Titanic James Cameron 4th
1999 The Love Letter Peter Ho-Sun Chan 5th
2000 The Million Dollar Hotel Wim Wenders 3rd
2004 Land of Plenty Wim Wenders ~




  1. ^ She was a third-generation Californian. Stuart's grandmother, Alice Vaughan, was born in Angels Camp, gold country, and her mother, Alice Diedrick, was born in Selma in the San Joaquin Valley, daughter of a blacksmith. [4]
  2. ^ Half-sister Patricia Marie Finch was born in 1924.
  3. ^ She imagined the six letters of Stuart would look better on a marquee than the seven letters of Stewart.[13]
  4. ^ "Gloria Stuart, a glamorous blond actress during Hollywood’s golden age who was largely forgotten until she made a memorable comeback in her 80s in the 1997 epic Titanic, died on Sunday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 100."[1]


  1. ^ a b Harmetz, Arthur; Berkvist, Robert (September 27, 2010). "Gloria Stuart, an Actress Rediscovered Late, Dies at 100". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-10-27. 
  2. ^, 1920 United States Federal Census, City of Santa Monica, precinct 14, sheet No. 12B, line 52. Accessed September 15, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 6.
  4. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 203.
  5. ^ 1910 United States Federal Census, City of Ocean Park, precinct 8, sheet No. 12A, line 20. Accessed September 15, 2014.
  6. ^, 1920 United States Federal Census, City of Santa Monica, precinct 14, sheet No. 12B, line 53. Accessed September 15, 2014.
  7. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 11.
  8. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, pp. 11-12.
  9. ^ 1927 Santa Monica High School yearbook, page 45.
  10. ^ 1927 Santa Monica High School yearbook.
  11. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 13.
  12. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 20.
  13. ^ a b c Pepe, Barbara. "Gloria Stuart". Hello. February 21, 1998, p. 8
  14. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 23.
  15. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 18.
  16. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 36.
  17. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, pp. 31-37.
  18. ^ Stuart, Gloria. "'The Play's the Thing' As Produced in Pasadena" The Carmelite. November 12, 1931. Stuart mistakenly calls it the Band Box in her book.
  19. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 40.
  20. ^ "The Cohens and Kellys in Hollywood (1932)". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved October 19, 2014. 
  21. ^ Tennant, Madge. "Fifteen Screen Debs Are Elected 1932 Baby Stars By WAMPAS" Movie Classic.
  22. ^ Hall, Mordaunt. "Pat O'Brien as a Boastful Pilot in a Story of the Hazards of the Modern 'Pony Express.'" New York Times, November 7, 1932.
  23. ^ Hall, Mordaunt. "Laughter in Hell (1932) A Chain-Gang Melodrama". New York Times, January 2, 1933.
  24. ^ Hall, Mordaunt. "Sweepings (1933) Lionel Barrymore and Gregory Ratoff in a Film Version of a Novel by Lester Cohen". New York Times, March 24, 1933.
  25. ^ Hall, Mordaunt. "Private Jones (1933) A Bucking Private." New York Times, March 25, 1933.
  26. ^ Hall, Mordaunt. "The Kiss Before the Mirror (1933) Frank Morgan, Nancy Carroll and Paul Lukas in a Pictorial Adaptation of a Hungarian Play." New York Times, May 21, 1933.
  27. ^ Hall, Mordaunt. "The Girl in 419 In an Emergency Hospital." New York Times, May 22, 1933.
  28. ^ Hall, Mordaunt. "Lionel Atwill and Gloria Stuart Appear in a Story of Mysterious Murders in an Old Castle." New York Times, September 13, 1933.
  29. ^ Hall, Mordaunt. "The Invisible Man (1933) Claude Rains Makes His Film Debut in a Version of H.G. Wells's Novel, 'The Invisible Man.'" New York Times, November 26, 1933.
  30. ^ Nugent, Frank S. "Here Comes the Navy (1934) Mr. Cagney Afloat." New York Times, July 21, 1934.
  31. ^ Here Comes the Heavy—Original trailer. Accessed September 14, 2014.
  32. ^ Sennwald, Andre. "Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)'Gold Diggers of 1935,' the New Warner Musical Film at the Strand – 'Times Square Lady.' New York Times, March 15, 1935.
  33. ^ Nugent, Frank S. "Professional Soldier (1936) Victor McLaglen as the 'Professional Soldier,' at the Center". New York Times, January 30, 1936.
  34. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 89.
  35. ^ Nugent, Frank S. "The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936)". New York Times, February 13, 1936.
  36. ^ Nugent, Frank S. "Poor Little Rich Girl (1936) Miss Temple's Latest, 'The Poor Little Rich Girl,' Moves Into the Radio City Music Hall." New York Times, June 26, 1936.
  37. ^ Nugent, Frank S. The Girl on the Front Page (1936) Notes in Passing on 'The Girl on the Front Page,' at the Roxy. New York Times, November 7, 1936.
  38. ^ Nugent, Frank S."Girl Overboard 1937." New York Times, March 1, 1937.
  39. ^ Staff. "Review: Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Variety, December 31, 1937.
  40. ^ "Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm—Original trailer" (Film). Retrieved September 15, 2014. 
  41. ^ B.R.C. "Jane Withers, Gloria Stuart and Henry Wilcox Are In 'Keep Smiling' at The Globe." New York Times, August 10, 1938.
  42. ^ Nugent, Frank S. "The Palace Takes 'Time Out for Murder' at the Palace". New York Times, October 7, 1938.
  43. ^ Crowther, Bosley. "Winner Take All at the Palace". New York Times, March 31, 1939.
  44. ^ Nugent, Frank S. "At the Palace." New York Times, June 9, 1939.
  45. ^ Special to the New York Times. "Screen News Here and in Hollywood..." New York Times, November 11, 1938.
  46. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 90.
  47. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, pp. 47-48.
  48. ^ a b Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 61.
  49. ^ "Star Weds Writer". Belvedere Daily Republican, Belvedere, Illinois, July 30, 1934.
  50. ^ "Gloria Stuart A Mother". The Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois), June 20, 1935.
  51. ^ Timphus, Stefan. "The Marx Brothers Chronology". Retrieved September 15, 2014. 
  52. ^ Clipping from The Chicagoan
  53. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, pp. 83-84.
  54. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 84.
  55. ^ a b "Arthur Sheekman (1901–1978)". IMDB. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  56. ^ a b Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 38.
  57. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 45.
  59. ^ McNary, Dave. "Thesp Gloria Stuart is Lauded by SAG". Variety, June 19, 2010.
  60. ^ a b c Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 46.
  61. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 92.
  62. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 116.
  63. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, pp. 116-117.
  64. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 118.
  65. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 129.
  66. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, pp. 130-137.
  67. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 121.
  68. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 136.
  69. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, pp. 137-138.
  70. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 138.
  71. ^ a b Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 162.
  72. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, pp. 158-159.
  73. ^ a b Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 143.
  74. ^ "She Wrote the Book (1946)". IMDB. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  75. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 168.
  76. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 169.
  77. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 170.
  78. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, pp. 171-172.
  79. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 174.
  80. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 175.
  81. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 177.
  82. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 178.
  83. ^ Zolotow, Sam. 'Joker Opening Canceled on Tour'. New York Times, April 1, 1957.
  84. ^ a b Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 182.
  85. ^ Dastin, Elizabeth. "Gloria Stuart: From Silver Screen to Canvas." Thesis proposal, CUNY Graduate Center, 2013.
  86. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 227.
  87. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 191.
  88. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, pp. 191-192.
  89. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 209.
  90. ^ Clip from the trailer: accessed September 10, 2014.
  91. ^ "Gloria Stuart (1910–2010)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  92. ^ "Arthur Sheekman, A Screenwriter and Adapter, at 76." New York Times, January 14, 1978.
  93. ^ MacLeod, Steve. "New Exhibit — Ward Ritchie and Laguna Verde Imprenta". Retrieved September 10, 2014. 
  94. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, pp. 219-220.
  95. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 226.
  96. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 228.
  97. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 230.
  98. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 231.
  99. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 244.
  100. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 233.
  101. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 239.
  102. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 249.
  103. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 250.
  104. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 251.
  105. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 254.
  106. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 268.
  107. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 278.
  108. ^ "Gloria Stuart. 1 Nomination". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  109. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 297.
  110. ^ Archerd, Army. "Showbiz stalwart Stuart gets SAG honor". Variety, December 14, 1997.
  111. ^ "The 4th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - 1998". Retrieved September 15, 2014. 
  112. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 302.
  113. ^ “Gloria Stuart.” People, May 11, 1998.
  114. ^ People 49 (17): 49. May 4, 1998.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  115. ^ Accessed September 18, 2014.
  116. ^ Program: “The L.A. Philharmonic presents Hollywood Bowl 1998. July 14-July 19.
  117. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, p. 307.
  118. ^ City of Santa Monica Commendation
  119. ^ Archerd, Army. "For Fisher, gay friends are 'Normal"." Variety, September 19, 2000.
  120. ^ WENN (June 21, 2010). "Stuart Honored By Screen Actors Guild". Retrieved November 12, 2014. .
  121. ^ Program: “An Academy Centennial Celebration with Gloria Stuart. July 22, 2010.”
  122. ^ Variety Staff. "Upcoming events for the week of July 6. Variety, July 6, 2010.
  123. ^ "Chris & Don. A Love Story–2007". Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  124. ^ Stuart & Thompson 1999, pp. 246-247.
  125. ^ Gloria Stuart’s 2004 day book, September 24, 2004.
  126. ^ Steinberg, Julie. "Gloria Stuart, 'Titanic' Star, Dies at 100". The Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2010.
  127. ^ Lacher, Irene (July 5, 2010). "Titanic actress Gloria Stuart celebrates her 100th birthday" Ministry of Gossip". Los Angeles Times. 
  128. ^ Thompson, Deborah B. (March 9, 2012). Butterfly Summers: A Memoir of Gloria Stuart's Apprentice (eBook). Cork: BookBaby Publication. p. 150. ISBN 9781620953570. 


  • Stuart, Gloria; Thompson, Sylvia (1999). Gloria Stuart: I Just Kept Hoping. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company. ISBN 0-316-81571-3. 
  • Walkup, Kathleen (Autumn 2010). "Fine Printing's Hollywood Connection: Gloria Stuart's Imprenta Glorias'". Parenthesis 19: 30–32. 

External links[edit]