Gloria Stuart, the Academy Award nominated actress best known for her role as elderly Rose in Titanic, has died. Stuart was 100 years old.
Stuart was born Gloria Frances Stewart in July 1910 in Santa Monica, California. She did some acting while attending the University of California at Berkeley before going on to work on the stage.
Once Stuart moved into film, and changed the spelling of her surname, she became known as a hard working leading lady. Stuart appeared in over 40 films in the 1930s – including Air Mail (1932), Here Comes the Navy (1934) and Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935) – but retired from acting in the 1940s as stardom continued to elude her. The 1970s saw Stuart return to acting on the small screen; she appeared in small roles on TV until the late 1980s, when once again she disappeared. It was the role of the elderly Rose – survivor of the sinking of the Titanic – that finally gave Stuart the stardom she had worked so long for.
Gloria Stuart was 87 when she appeared in James Cameron’s Titanic. This was the role she had been waiting for, and once she read the script, she was captivated. The role garnered Stuart almost universal praise, and she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1998. Stuart was also named as one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 1998 and received a star on the Hollywood walk of Fame in 2000.
Stuart’s first marriage – to her college sweetheart Gordon Newell – ended in divorce after just four years. Stuart then went on to marry screenwriter Arthur Sheekman in 1934 who died in 1978. At the age of 72, Stuart began a relationship with printer Ward Ritchie who died in 1996.
Gloria Stuart was politically active throughout her life, she was an early member of The Screen Actor’s Guild and helped to form the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League in 1936. Stuart was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2005 and died yesterday in her sleep at her home in West Los Angeles.
Stuart is survived by Sylvia, her daughter with Arthur Sheekman.