Lillian Gish

Lillian Gish

  • Highest Rated: 100% The Wind (1928)
  • Lowest Rated: 27% The Comedians (1967)
  • Birthday: Invalid date
  • Birthplace: Springfield, Ohio, USA
  • "The First Lady of the Silent Screen," Lillian Gish was the movie industry's first true actress. A pioneer of fundamental film performing techniques, she was the first star to recognize the many crucial differences between acting for the stage and acting for the screen, and while her contemporaries painted their performances in broad, dramatic strokes, Gish delivered finely etched, nuanced turns carrying a stunning emotional impact. While by no means the biggest or most popular actress of the silent era, she was the most gifted, her seeming waiflike frailty masking unparalleled reserves of physical and spiritual strength. More than any other early star, she fought to earn film recognition as a true art form, and her achievements remain the standard against which those of all other actors are measured. Born Lillian de Guiche October 14, 1893, in Springfield, OH, Gish, her younger sister, Dorothy, and their mother, actress Mary Gish, soon relocated to New York. Beginning their acting careers not long after, the girls were in short time the family breadwinners. Among their colleagues was another child actress, Mary Pickford, who in 1909 traveled west to Hollywood to pursue a career in the movies. She found work with the famed director D.W. Griffith, and soon persuaded him to recruit the Gish sisters for his Biograph Studios' repertory company of actors. Lillian and Dorothy debuted together in 1912's An Unseen Enemy and over the next several years appeared both together and independently in dozens of the director's one- and two-reelers. While overshadowed by Pickford's fame, Lillian was the Griffith stable's most skilled actress, and she starred in many of his greatest works, including 1915's The Birth of a Nation, 1916's Intolerance, 1920's Way Down East, and 1922's Orphans of the Storm.With her delicate, luminous beauty, Gish was perfect for Griffith's Victorian-styled melodramas; wide-eyed and restrained, her face a marvel of innocence and nuance, she was nothing less than ideal for Griffith's landmark use of close-up photography. Together, they worked from opposite sides of the camera to push the new medium from lowbrow entertainment into the realm of serious art. In 1920, under Griffith's tutelage, Gish even directed her own film, Remodeling Her Husband, a vehicle for her sister. She left Griffith in 1923, landing at MGM to star in such literary projects as 1926's La Boheme and The Scarlet Letter. In 1930, she made her first sound film, One Romantic Night. Longing to return to Broadway -- and considered a fading star around Hollywood -- she made only one film over the course of the next 13 years, 1933's His Double Life. Instead, she became a fixture of the stage in productions, including 1930's Uncle Vanya, 1936's The Old Maid, and 1937's The Star Wagon. She also played Ophelia opposite John Gielgud's titular Hamlet, and in 1932 published the book Life and Lillian Gish. A supporting role in 1943's The Commandos Strike at Dawn signalled Gish's return to film. Four years later, she received her first Oscar nomination for her work in the acclaimed Duel in the Sun. However, after 1948's Portrait of Jennie, Gish again exited Hollywood for the stage, and did not return to movies prior to 1955's The Cobweb. Later that same year, she also co-starred in Charles Laughton's classic The Night of the Hunter and infrequently appeared on television. After 1967's The Comedians, Gish largely retired from acting, penning a second memoir, The Movies, Mr. Griffith and Me, two years later. In 1971, she won a special Academy Award for her "superlative artistry" and in 1977 co-starred in Robert Altman's A Wedding. After being honored in 1984 by the American Film Institute, in 1987, she accepted her final starring role, opposite Bette Davis, in The Whales of August. Lillian Gish died in New York City on February 27, 1993.

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

Movies

Rating

Title

Credit

Box
Office

Year

No Score Yet Night Hunter Actor 2012
No Score Yet The Lady And The Mouse Actor 2010
No Score Yet An Unseen Enemy Actor 2010
88% Mary Pickford: The Muse of the Movies Actor 2008
67% Never Apologize: A Personal Visit With Lindsay Anderson Actor 2007
60% The Whales of August Sarah Webber 1987
75% Sweet Liberty Cecelia Burgess 1986
No Score Yet Hambone and Hillie Hillie Radcliffe 1984
No Score Yet Hobson's Choice Actor 1983
73% A Wedding Nettie Sloan 1978
27% The Comedians Mrs. Smith 1967
No Score Yet Warning Shot Alice Willows 1967
No Score Yet Follow Me, Boys! Hetty Seibert 1966
No Score Yet The Great Chase Actor 1962
No Score Yet The Unforgiven Mattilda Zachary 1960
No Score Yet Orders to Kill Mrs. Summers 1958
80% The Cobweb Victoria Inch 1955
99% The Night of the Hunter Rachel 1955
83% Portrait of Jennie Mother Mary of Mercy 1948
80% Duel in the Sun Laura Belle McCanles 1946
No Score Yet Commandos Strike at Dawn Mrs. Bergesen 1942
No Score Yet His Double Life Alice Chalice 1933
100% The Wind Letty 1928
No Score Yet Annie Laurie Annie Laurie 1927
No Score Yet The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne 1926
No Score Yet La Boheme Mimi 1926
No Score Yet Romola Romola 1925
No Score Yet The White Sister Angela Chiaromonte 1923
92% Orphans of the Storm Henriette Girard 1921
94% Way Down East Anna Moore 1920
83% True Heart Susie True Heart Susie 1919
95% Broken Blossoms Lucy - The Girl 1919
No Score Yet The Greatest Question Nellie Jarvis 1919
No Score Yet A Romance of Happy Valley Jennie Timberlake 1919
No Score Yet Hearts of the World The Girl, Marie Stephenson 1918
97% Intolerance Cradle Rocker 1916
No Score Yet Sold for Marriage Marfa 1916
98% The Birth of a Nation Elsie 1915
No Score Yet Enoch Arden Annie Lee 1915
No Score Yet Judith of Bethulia A Young Mother 1914
No Score Yet The Battle of the Sexes Jane Andrews 1914
No Score Yet Home Sweet Home His Sweetheart 1914
No Score Yet The Musketeers of Pig Alley Actor 1912

TV

Rating

Title

Credit

Year

No Score Yet American Playhouse
1982-1996
Mrs. Loftus

QUOTES FROM Lillian Gish CHARACTERS

Elsie Stoneman
We Shall Crush The White South Under The Heel Of The Black South.
Elsie Stoneman
We shall crush the white South under the heel of the black South.