Monday, September 27, 2010

Gloria Stuart (1910-2010)

Bad news just in: one of the last links to the classic era of Universal Horror, but best known for her late-life return to celebrity in James Cameron's Titanic after taking a role Fay Wray had turned down, Gloria Stuart has succumbed to lung cancer not long after celebrating her centennial. Stuart was the female lead in James Whale's The Old Dark House and The Invisible Man and appeared in numerous films for other studios in the 1930s. She followed her Oscar-nominate performance in Titanic with several appearances in film and TV, including two Wim Wenders movies. Her last performance, in a sense, was an interview she gave a few weeks after her 100th birthday, when reporters noted that her voice was just about gone, though she appears to have kept her mind clear to the end. Given what that interview must have taken out of her as a centenarian dying of cancer, she was certainly a trouper to the end. Ave atque vale.

5 comments:

Judy said...

I just heard this too and was sad to hear of Gloria Stuart's passing, but what a great career she had. I fairly recently saw her early role opposite James Cagney in the pre-Code 'Here Comes the Navy', and thought she was great - amazing to think that she went on to play Rose in 'Titanic' all those years later, and was still taking small roles up to 2004. A real legend. There aren't many stars from that era left.

Sam Juliano said...

What an incredible run, but nontheless very sad news. As Judy said, there are few left from this era, and Stuart did make her mark in THE OLD DARK HOUSE and THE INVISIBLE RAY, and that endearing late-career stint in TITANIC.

R.I.P.

Crhymethinc said...

I'm surprised she lived that long. Most of us will be lucky to hit 80.

Samuel Wilson said...

Judy and Sam: as you know, double Oscar winner Luise Rainer still survives, having also turned 100 this year, but I don't know if there are any other stars around who were adults when Stuart was breaking in. Erstwhile child stars like Mickey Rooney and Shirley Temple are still around, of course.

Crhymethinc: Stuart may have done a smart thing by taking her middle-age off. She dropped out of the business in the early 1940s and only gradually began to get back into it, from what I've read, in the late 1970s. I'm not aware of an actor who worked straight through to such an advanced age apart from Lillian Gish, though Ernest Borgnine and Eli Wallach are getting there.

Judy said...

Samuel, sisters Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine both appeared in their first films in 1935, three years after Stuart's debut, though they are a few years younger - but I'm struggling to think of many more, apart from child stars, as you say.