58 Facts About Lillian Gish


Lillian Diana Gish was an American actress, director, and screenwriter.


Lillian Gish's film-acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912, in silent film shorts, to 1987.


Lillian Gish was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Duel in the Sun.


Lillian Gish had major supporting roles in Portrait of Jennie, A Wedding, and Sweet Liberty.


Lillian Gish did considerable television work from the early 1950s into the 1980s, and retired after playing opposite Bette Davis in the 1987 film The Whales of August.


Lillian Gish was awarded a Kennedy Center Honor for her contribution to American culture through performing arts in 1982.


Lillian Diana Gish was born on October 14,1893, in Springfield, Ohio, the first child of actress Mary Robinson McConnell, and James Leigh Gish.


Lillian Gish had a younger sister, Dorothy, who became a popular movie star.


Lillian Gish's mother was a Scottish Episcopalian and her father was of German Lutheran descent.


Lillian Gish's father was an alcoholic and left the family; her mother took up acting to support them.


The 17-year-old Lillian traveled to Shawnee, Oklahoma, where James's brother Alfred Grant Gish and his wife, Maude, lived.


Lillian Gish stayed with her aunt and uncle, and attended Shawnee High School there.


Lillian Gish's father died in Norman, Oklahoma, in 1912, but she had returned to Ohio a few months before this.


Lillian Gish soon became one of America's best-loved actresses; she was 19 years old at the time, but told casting directors she was 16.


Lillian Gish made her stage debut in 1902, at the Little Red School House in Risingsun, Ohio.


Lillian Gish continued to perform on the stage, and in 1913, during a run of A Good Little Devil, she collapsed from anemia.


Lillian Gish took suffering for her art to the extreme in a film career which became her obsession.


Similarly, when preparing for her death scene in La Boheme over a decade later, Lillian Gish reportedly did not eat and drink for three days beforehand, causing the director to fear he would be filming the death of his star, as well as of the character.


Lillian Gish starred in many of Griffith's most acclaimed films, including The Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, Broken Blossoms, Way Down East, and Orphans of the Storm.


Lillian Gish utilized her expressive talents to the fullest, developing her into a suffering yet strong heroine.


Lillian Gish became the most esteemed actress of budding Hollywood cinema.


Lillian Gish told Gish that he thought the crew would work harder for a girl.


Lillian Gish never directed again, telling reporters at the time that directing was a man's job.


Lillian Gish reluctantly ended her work with Griffith in 1925 to take an offer from the recently formed MGM, which gave her more creative control.


The Wind, Lillian Gish's favorite film of her MGM career, was a commercial failure with the rise of talkies, but is recognized as one of the most distinguished works of the silent period.


Lillian Gish 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 and Marguerite in a limited run of La Dame aux Camelias.


Lillian Gish appeared in films from time to time for the rest of her life, notably in The Night of the Hunter as a rural guardian angel protecting her charges from a murderous preacher played by Robert Mitchum.


Lillian Gish was considered for various roles in Gone with the Wind ranging from Ellen O'Hara, Scarlett's mother, to prostitute Belle Watling.


Lillian Gish made numerous television appearances from the early 1950s into the late 1980s.


Lillian Gish's most acclaimed television work was starring in the original production of The Trip to Bountiful in 1953.


Lillian Gish appeared as Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in the short-lived 1965 Broadway musical Anya.


Lillian Gish was interviewed in the television documentary series Hollywood: A Celebration of the American Silent Film.


Lillian Gish received a Special Academy Award in 1971, "For superlative artistry and for distinguished contribution to the progress of motion pictures".


Lillian Gish has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1720 Vine Street.


Lillian Gish's performance was received glowingly, winning her the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress.


At the Cannes festival, Lillian Gish won a 10-minute standing ovation from the audience.


Lillian Gish herself was more complacent, only remarking, "Well, now I won't have to go and lose to Cher".


Lillian Gish's 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.


Lillian Gish starred in an episode of the popular CBS Radio series Suspense.


In 1944, Lillian Gish starred in an episode of I Was There, broadcast on CBS.


Lillian Gish was awarded an Academy Honorary Award in 1971, and in 1984 she received an AFI Life Achievement Award.


Lillian Gish was a special guest at the Telluride Film Festival in 1983.


Lillian Gish was in attendance at the dedication on June 11,1976; she accepted the honor for herself and her sister, who had died several years earlier.


Lillian Gish was involved with producer Charles Duell, and drama critic and editor George Jean Nathan.


Lillian Gish was a survivor of the 1918 flu pandemic, having contracted the illness during the filming of Broken Blossoms.


Lillian Gish became a vegetarian in her childhood as she could not bear the thought of killing animals.


Lillian Gish's vegetarianism became well known in 1925 as she was seen nibbling on a raw carrot in federal court.


Lillian Gish maintained a close relationship with her sister Dorothy and with Mary Pickford for her entire life.


Lillian Gish was the godmother of Hayes's son James MacArthur, and designated Hayes as a beneficiary of her estate.


Lillian Gish was a staunch Republican, and was friendly with President Dwight Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie.


Lillian Gish supported Richard Nixon in his failed 1960 presidential run, and was friends with Ronald Reagan.


Lillian Gish was an active member of the America First Committee, an anti-intervention organization founded by a group of law students led by R Douglas Stuart Jr.


Lillian Gish said she was blacklisted by the film and theater industries until she signed a contract in which she promised to cease her anti-interventionist activities and never disclose the fact that she had agreed to do so.


Lillian Gish died of heart failure on February 27,1993, at the age of 99.


Lillian Gish was cremated and her ashes were interred beside those of her sister Dorothy at Saint Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in New York City.


Lillian Gish's estate was valued at several million dollars, the bulk of which went toward the creation of the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize Trust.


Lillian Gish is considered the movie industry's first true actress.


Lillian Gish brought to her roles a sense of craft substantially different from that practiced by her theatrical colleagues.