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Lilian GishLillian Gish

silent film actress

Lillian Diana de Guiche was born in Springfield, Ohio, on October 14, 1893. Her father was an alcoholic who was rarely at home, so Lillian, her mother, and her sister, Dorothy, made their living acting in local productions. Lillian was six years old when she first appeared before an audience, and she and her sister would spend thirteen years on stage before moving on to films.

In 1912, Lillian and Dorothy were introduced to director D.W. Griffith, who cast them both in An Unseen Enemy that same year. Lillian would go on to make over two dozen films for Griffith over the span of thirteen years, including his epic film The Birth of a Nation (1915).

After thirteen years with Griffith, Gish was signed to a contract with MGM. Her first film there was La Boheme (1926). But as the silent era began to give way to the "talkie" era, Gish's star was beginning to fade, and she was released by MGM in 1928 because she was at the time unwilling to make the move to "talkies."

Gish did finally make the transition to "talkies," appearing in One Romantic Night in 1930. But, after making His Double Life in 1933, she disappeared from the silver screen and returned to the stage. She would not return to the screen until 1942, when she appeared in Commandos Strike at Dawn. She would continue to appear in films off and on for much of the rest of her life. Her last picture was The Whales of August (1987). In addition to films she also made appearances in a number of television productions over the latter years of her career. Her autobiography, The Movies, Mr. Griffith, and Me, was published in 1969.

Lillian Gish died in her sleep at her home in New York City, on February 27, 1993.

Films

An Unseen Enemy (1912)
Two Daughters of Eve
(1912)
So Near, Yet So Far
(1912)
In the Aisles of the Wild
(1912)
The One She Loved
(1912)
The Painted Lady
(1912)
The Musketeers of Pig Alley
(1912)
Gold and Glitter
(1912)
My Baby
(1912)
The Informer
(1912)
Brutality
(1912)
The New York Hat
(1912)
The Burglar's Dilemma
(1912)
A Cry for Help
(1912)
Oil and Water
(1913)
The Unwelcome Guest
(1913)
A Misunderstood Boy
(1913)
The Left-Handed Man
(1913)
The Lady and the Mouse
(1913)
The House of Darkness
(1913)
Just Gold
(1913)
A Timely Interception
(1913)
The Mothering Heart
(1913)
During the Round-Up
(1913)
An Indian's Loyalty
(1913)
A Woman in the Ultimate
(1913)
A Modest Hero
(1913)
So Runs the Way
(1913)
Madonna of the Storm
(1913)
The Battle at Elderbush Gulch
(1913)
The Conscience of Hassan Bey
(1913)
A Duel for Love
(1914)
The Green-Eyed Devil
(1914)
Judith of Bethulia
(1914)
The Battle of the Sexes
(1914)
The Hunchback
(1914)
The Quicksands
(1914)
Home, Sweet Home
(1914)
Lord Chumley
(1914)
The Rebellion of Kitty Belle
(1914)
The Angel of Contention
(1914)
Man's Enemy
(1914)
The Tear That Burned
(1914)
The Folly of Anne
(1914)
The Sisters
(1914)
The Birth of a Nation
(1915)
The Lost House
(1915)
Enoch Arden
(1915)
Captain Macklin
(1915)
The Lily and the Rose
(1915)
Pathways of Life
(1916)
Daphne and the Pirate
(1916)
Sold for Marriage
(1916)
An Innocent Magdalene
(1916)
Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages
(1916)
Diane of the Follies
(1916)
The Children Pay
(1916)
The House Built Upon Sand
(1916)
Souls Triumphant
(1917)
Hearts of the World
(1918--uncredited)
The Great Love
(1918)
The Greatest Thing in Life
(1918)
A Romance of Happy Valley
(1919)
Broken Blossoms, or The Yellow Man and the Girl
(1919)
True Heart Susie
(1919)
The Greatest Question
(1919)
Way Down East
(1920)
Orphans of the Storm
(1921)
The White Sister
(1923)
Romola
(1924)
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
(1925--uncredited crowd extra)
La Boheme
(1926)
The Scarlet Letter
(1926)
Annie Laurie
(1927)
The Enemy
(1927)
The Wind
(1928)
One Romantic Night
(1930--first "talkie")
His Double Life
(1933)
Commandos Strike at Dawn
(1942)
Top Man
(1943)
Miss Susie Slagle's
(1946)
Duel in the Sun
(1946)
Portrait of Jennie
(1948)
The Trip to Bountiful
(1953--TV)
The Cobweb
(1955)
The Night of the Hunter
(1955)
Orders to Kill
(1958)
The Unforgiven
(1960)
The Spiral Staircase
(1961--TV)
Follow Me, Boys!
(1966)
Warning Shot
(1967)
The Comedians
(1967)
Arsenic and Old Lace
(1969--TV)
Twin Detectives
(1976--TV)
Sparrow
(1978--TV)
A Wedding
(1978)
Thin Ice
(1981--TV)
Hambone and Hillie
(1983)
Hobson's Choice
(1983--TV)
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
(1985--TV)
Sweet Liberty
(1986)
The Whales of August
(1987)

Awards

Academy Awards (Oscars)
nomination, Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Duel in the Sun), 1947
Honorary Award, 1971

American Film Institute
Life Achievement Award, 1984

Golden Globes, USA
nomination, Best Supporting Actress (The Comedians), 1968

Independent Spirit Awards
nomination, Best Female Lead (The Whales of August), 1988

London Critics Circle Film Awards
Special Achievement Award, 1987

National Board of Review, USA
Best Actress (The Whales of August), 1987
Career Achievement Award, 1987

Women in Film Crystal Awards
Crystal Award, 1979

Others
Motion Picture Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
1976 -- Dorothy and Lillian Gish Film Theater dedicated on the campus of Bowling Green State University


American Masters http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/lillian-gish-about-lillian-gish/614/
Internet Movie DataBase us.imdb.com/name/nm0001273/
The Official Website of Lillian Gish www.lilliangish.com

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This page was last updated on September 22, 2015.

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