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Her great-great-great-grandfather came to America on the ship Pennsylvania Merchant in and received a land grant from William Penn. Her great-great-grandfather fought in the American Revolutionary War and is buried in a cemetery in Pennsylvania for such soldiers. Letters between Gish and a Pennsylvania college professor indicate that her knowledge of her family background was limited. Gish's father was an unreliable alcoholic. When he left the family, her mother took up acting to support them.

The family moved to East St. Their mother opened the Majestic Candy Kitchen, and the girls helped sell popcorn and candy to patrons of the old Majestic Theater, located next door. The girls attended St. Henry's School, where they acted in school plays. The girls were living with their aunt Emily in Massillon, Ohio, when they were notified by their uncle that their father, James, was gravely ill in Oklahoma.

Lillian traveled to Shawnee, Oklahoma, to see her father, who by then was institutionalized in an Oklahoma City hospital. She saw him briefly and stayed with her aunt and uncle, Alfred Grant and Maude Gish, in Shawnee and attended school there. She wrote to her sister Dorothy that she was thinking of staying and finishing high school and then going to college, but she missed her family.

When the theater next to the candy store burned down, the family moved to New York, where the girls became good friends with a next-door neighbor, Gladys Smith. Gladys was a child actress who did some work for director D. Griffith and later took the stage name Mary Pickford. When Lillian and Dorothy were old enough, they joined the theatre, often traveling separately in different productions. They also took modeling jobs, with Lillian posing for artist Victor Maurel in exchange for voice lessons.

In , their friend Mary Pickford introduced the sisters to Griffith and helped get them contracts with Biograph Studios. Lillian Gish would soon become one of America's best-loved actresses. Although she was already 19, she gave her age as 16 to the studio. Gish had German, Scottish and English ancestry. After 10 years of acting on the stage, she made her film debut opposite Dorothy in Griffith's short film An Unseen Enemy At the time established thespians considered "the flickers" a rather base form of entertainment, but she was assured of its merits.

Gish continued to perform on the stage, and in , during a run of A Good Little Devil , she collapsed from anemia. Lillian would take suffering for her art to the extreme in a film career which became her obsession. One of the enduring images of Gish's silent film years is the climax of the melodramatic Way Down East , in which Gish's character floats unconscious on an ice floe towards a raging waterfall, her long hair and hand trailing in the water. Her performance in these frigid conditions gave her lasting nerve damage in several fingers. Griffith utilized Lillian's expressive talents to the fullest, developing her into a suffering yet strong heroine.

Having appeared in over 25 short films and features in her first two years as a movie actress, Lillian became a major star, becoming known as "The First Lady of American Cinema" and appearing in lavish productions, frequently of literary works such as Way Down East. She became the most esteemed actress of budding Hollywood cinema. Griffith took his unit on location. He told Gish that he thought the crew would work harder for a girl.

Gish never directed again, telling reporters at the time that directing was a man's job. Unfortunately the film is now thought to be lost. In Gish reluctantly ended her work with Griffith to take an offer from the recently formed MGM which gave her more creative control.

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A Life on Stage and Screen – by STUART ODERMAN

She turned down the money, requesting a more modest wage and a percentage so that the studio could use the funds to increase the quality of her films — hiring the best actors, screenwriters, etc. Her contract with MGM ended in The Wind , Gish's favorite film of her MGM career, was a commercial failure with the rise of talkies, but is now recognized as one of the most distinguished works of the silent period. Though not a box-office hit as before, her work was respected artistically more than ever, and MGM pressed her with offers to appear in the new medium of sound pictures.

Her debut in talkies was only moderately successful, largely due to the public's changing attitudes. Many of the silent era's leading ladies, such as Gish and Pickford, had been wholesome and innocent, but by the early s after the full adoption of sound and before the Motion Picture Production Code was enforced these roles were perceived as outdated.

The ingenue 's diametric opposite, the vamp, was at the height of its popularity.


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Gish was increasingly seen as a "silly, sexless antique" to quote Louise Brooks's sarcastic summary of Gish's criticism. Louis Mayer wanted to stage a scandal "knock her off her pedestal" to garner public sympathy for Gish, but Lillian didn't want to act both on screen and off, and returned to her first love, the theater.

Of the former, she said, with pride, "I played a lewd Ophelia! The scenes of her character's illness and death late in that film seemed intended to evoke the memory of some of her silent film performances. She appeared in films from time to time for the rest of her life, notably in Night of the Hunter as a rural guardian angel protecting her charges from a murderous preacher played by Robert Mitchum.

1933 HIS DOUBLE LIFE - Roland Young, Lillian Gish - Full movie

Gish made numerous television appearances from the early s into the late s. Her most acclaimed television work was starring in the original production of The Trip to Bountiful in In addition to her later acting appearances, Gish became one of the leading advocates of the lost art of the silent film, often giving speeches and touring to screenings of classic works.

Gish received a Special Academy Award in "For superlative artistry and for distinguished contribution to the progress of motion pictures. November 30, National Theater. Sycamore" with Lillian Gish, Oct. University of Michigan.

Lillian Gish: A Life on Stage and Screen - Stuart Oderman - Google книги

Griffith Award, signed by Lillian Gish, M. Line drawing of Lillian Gish, page from New Yorker, reproduction of cartoon of Gish sisters, Photographs of Lillian with photocopies as listed below Portrait, Portrait, copy Portrait, Portrait 2 copies , c. Europa, On S. Ile de France, On S. Marshall on "The Defenders", With E. Articles on Lillian Gish's death, Program.

Museum of Modern Art, October 14, Catalog. Lillian Gish, Information packet. Dedication ceremony. Partial funding for the center was provided by the Lillian Gish Trust Programs, exhibits, etc. Pilger to L.

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Gish with comments added, scattered dates Correspondence — L. Gish to W. Pilger, Correspondence — L. Pilger, c. Pilger, scattered dates Correspondence — L. Pilger, nd Correspondence — L.

Lillian Gish

Gish to Don Spaidal and D. Spaidal to L. Gish , nd Correspondence — Various individuals to L. Gish or W. Pilger regarding L. Gish travel and appearances, scattered dates Correspondence — James Frasher to W. Pilger, scattered dates Correspondence — Dorothy Hanson to W. Pilger, , , nd Correspondence — Howard Lockhart to W.

Pilger, , nd Correspondence — Stuart Oderman to W. Pilger, Correspondence — Misc.