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Lillian Gish

Lillian Gish

John Gilbert was infatuated with her, and would mess up his "love scenes" with her in the filming of La bohème (1926) on purpose, so he could keep kissing her.

After her amicable parting with D.W. Griffith she joined MGM in 1925, but was unceremoniously dumped when Greta Garbo emerged as a star. Considered a "sexless antique," she turned to radio and her first love, the theater. Ironically, MGM had Garbo on the set of The Scarlet Letter (1926) every day to watch Gish work as part of her apprenticeship.

American Film Institute Life Achievement Award [1984]

At her 1984 AFI Life Achievment Award ceremony, John Houseman claimed that Gish and her sister Dorothy were offered the chance to buy the Sunset strip for $300. After considering the offer, they decided to spend the money for two dresses at the fashionable Bullock's instead.

Blue eyes



Career spanned 75 years.

Daughter of actress Mary Gish.

Ended her relationship with George Jean Nathan when she discovered he was Jewish by birth, although his mother was a convent-educated convert to Roman Catholicism and he himself shared Gish's conservative views.

Every year on Gish's birthdate, October 14, New York's Museum of Modern Art shows at least one of her films or TV performances.

Gish was taught how to shoot by notorious outlaw Al J. Jennings, who was in one of her films. When John Huston and Burt Lancaster took her to the desert to teach her how to shoot for The Unforgiven (1960) they were astounded to discover she could shoot more accurately and faster than they. She found that she liked shooting and over the years had developed into an expert shot.

In 1970 she wrote to congratulate California's First Lady Nancy Davis after the Governor's wife likened anti-war protesters to Nazis in an interview. "Every time you and Ronnie open your mouths you echo my thoughts," Gish wrote.

Interred at Saint Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, New York City, New York, USA.

Is portrayed by Mackenzie Phillips in The Silent Lovers (1980) (TV)

Left her entire estate, which was valued at several million dollars, to Helen Hayes. Hayes died eighteen days after Gish.

Lillian and Mary Pickford were childhood friends, but Mary tried to never be left alone with Lillian--remembering her mother's superstitious belief that "the good die young," Mary was in constant fear that Lillian would drop dead at any moment.

Lillian and her sister Dorothy were once offered the chance of buying the Sunset Strip in Hollywood for $300. The Gish sisters talked the matter over, weighing the pros and cons. They then went down to fashionable Bullock's and bought a dress each instead.

Member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

On 11 June 1976, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Film Theater was dedicated on the Bowling Green State University campus in Bowling Green, Ohio, USA.

Related, on her mother's side, to U.S. President Zachary Taylor.

She and Dorothy Gish both started working for D.W. Griffith in the early days of 'American Mutoscope & Biograph [us]'. While it's been claimed that Griffith was immediately infatuated with Lillian, in their first film for him, Biograph's An Unseen Enemy (1912), he thought they were twins. According to Lillian's autobiography, he had to tie different colored hair ribbons on the girls to tell them apart and give them direction: "Red, you hear a strange noise. Run to your sister. Blue, you're scared too. Look toward me, where the camera is.".

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