Gloria Stuart, whose acting career spanned seven decades, died Monday at age 100. The one-time studio contract player capped off a comeback with her 1997 appearance in "Titanic" as the older version of Kate Winslet's character. Her screen time, though short, framed the film and set up the enduring love story at its center.
Gloria Stuart rode the wave of success that came with "Titanic" with style and grace. As Dennis McLellan details, "In 'Gloria Stuart: I Just Kept Hoping,' her 1999 autobiography written with her daughter Sylvia Thompson, Stuart said that after reading the script, 'I knew the role I had wanted and waited for all these many years had arrived! I could taste the role of Old Rose!'"
In the 1930s, Stuart had been one of the founding members of the Screen Actors Guild, serving on its board for several years, and more than six decades later she was delighted to take home the supporting actress award bestowed by this organization for "Titanic." At these kudos, she tied with another screen beauty on the comeback trail -- Kim Basinger in "L.A. Confidential" -- who would edge her out at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards.
While "Titanic" tied two Oscar records for most nominations (14) and wins (11), Stuart set her own mark, which still stands as the oldest acting nominee. To commemorate the centennial of her birth on July 4, 1910, the academy celebrated her life with an evening of movie clips and memories last July 22. Stuart attended and regaled an appreciative audience with tales of her times in the golden age of Hollywood.Photo: Gloria Stuart at the 70th Annual Academy Awards. Credit: AMPAS