A Hollywood star of the 1930s, Gloria Stuart returned to the screen half a century later to portray Rose, the elderly shipwreck survivor and counterpart to Kate Winslet’s character in the blockbuster 1997 movie “Titanic.” The actress, still striking, was 87 at the time.
Born in Santa Monica on July 14, 1910, Stuart graduated from Santa Monica High School in 1927. Small roles at the Pasadena Playhouse and elsewhere quickly led to a contract at Universal.
She appeared in numerous films in the '30s and '40s, including “The Dark Old House,” “The Invisible Man,” “Roman Scandals,” “Gold Diggers of 1935” and two Shirley Temple vehicles, “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” and “Poor Little Rich Girl.”
But the roles grew repetitive and Stuart left Hollywood, moving to New York with her husband, screenwriter Arthur Sheekman, to try her luck on Broadway. But the parts she hoped for didn’t materialize and Stuart eventually left acting, becoming an accomplished painter and later, a book printer.
Stuart did not have an agent when she received a call from casting agent Mali Finn to ask if she’d be interested in reading for a part in James Cameron’s “Titanic.” Her performance in the film, a fictional romance framed by Rose’s memories of the 1912 tragedy, would earn her a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress.
A founding member of the Screen Actors Guild, Stuart’s close friends have included Groucho Marx, who was her husband’s mentor; Dorothy Parker, with whom she founded the League to Aid Spanish Orphans during the Spanish civil war; Charlie Chaplin; Bette Davis; and Humphrey Bogart.
|1997||Best Supporting Actress||Titanic||Nomination|