Gloria Stuart

Gloria Stuart

Stuart in 1937
Born Gloria Frances Stewart
July 4, 1910(1910-07-04)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Died September 26, 2010(2010-09-26) (aged 100)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death respiratory failure
Nationality American
Education Santa Monica High School
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley
Occupation Actress, Artist
Years active 1932–46
Spouse Blair Gordon Newell (m. 1930–1934) «start: (1930)–end+1: (1935)»"Marriage: Blair Gordon Newell to Gloria Stuart" Location: (linkback://
Arthur Sheekman (m. 1934–1978) «start: (1934)–end+1: (1979)»"Marriage: Arthur Sheekman to Gloria Stuart" Location: (linkback:// death)
Children Sylvia Vaughn Sheekman, Mrs. Thompson (born June 19, 1935 (1935-06-19) (age 76))

Gloria Frances Stuart (July 4, 1910 – September 26, 2010) was an American actress, activist, painter, bonsai artist and fine printer. Over a Hollywood career which spanned, with a long break in the middle, from 1932 until 2004, she appeared on stage, television, and film, for which she was best-known. She appeared as Claude Rains' sweetheart in The Invisible Man, and as the elderly Rose Dawson Calvert in an Academy Award-nominated role in the film Titanic. She was the oldest person to be nominated for a competitive Oscar, at the age of 87, for that role.


Early life and career

Here with James Cagney from the film Here Comes the Navy (1934) filmed on the USS Arizona

Stuart was born Gloria Frances Stewart in Santa Monica, California, a third-generation Californian. Her mother, Alice Vaughan Deidrick Stewart, was born in Angels Camp, California. Her father, Frank Stewart, was an attorney representing many Tongs in San Francisco. Gloria's brother, Frank, came 11 months later. A second brother, Thomas, died in infancy. When Gloria was nine years old, her father, who had been appointed a judge and was about to take the bench, was hit by a car and died. Her mother got a job in the Ocean Park, California Post Office to support her children. Alice Stewart remarried, to Fred J. Finch, a native of Kentucky, who owned a local funeral parlor and held oil leases in Texas. A half-sister, Patsy — Patricia Marie Finch — was born in 1924. Gloria's younger brother Frank took the surname Finch, later becoming a sportswriter for the Los Angeles Times.

She later changed the spelling of her surname when she began her career, reportedly because "Stuart" would fit better on a marquee.[citation needed]

Gloria Stuart, fourth from left, top row, with the rest of the 1932 WAMPAS Baby Stars.

She attended Santa Monica High School, graduating in 1927, then immediately ran off to Berkeley to attend the University of California, Berkeley. At Berkeley, she majored in drama and philosophy but dropped out in her junior year to marry Blair Gordon Newell, a San Francisco sculptor working under Ralph Stackpole on the facade of the San Francisco Stock Exchange building. The Newells lived a bohemian life in Carmel and were part of a circle of artists including Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, and Robinson Jeffers. She acted at the Carmel Playhouse and worked on the Carmel newspaper. Returning to Los Angeles, she appeared at the Pasadena Playhouse and was immediately signed to a contract by Universal Studios in 1932. She became a favorite of director James Whale, appearing in his The Old Dark House (1932), The Kiss Before the Mirror (1933) and The Invisible Man (1933).

Stuart was an activist and became a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild, but her career with Universal was disappointing. She moved to 20th Century Fox, and by the end of the decade had appeared in more than forty films, including Busby Berkeley's Gold Diggers of 1935 and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. She appeared alongside such stars as Lionel Atwill, Lionel Barrymore, Freddie Bartholomew, Warner Baxter, James Cagney, Eddie Cantor, Melvyn Douglas, Ruth Etting, Boris Karloff, Paul Lukas, Raymond Massey, Pat O'Brien, Al Pearce, Dick Powell, Claude Rains, the Ritz Brothers, Shirley Temple and Lee Tracy.

Personal life

In 1934, Stuart and Newell divorced amicably and she married screenwriter Arthur Sheekman, one of the writers on Roman Scandals. Sheekman was Groucho Marx's best friend and was collaborating (sometimes without credit) on Marx Brothers films. Later, Sheekman ghostwrote several of Marx's books; Marx called him "The Fastest Wit in the West". The Sheekmans' daughter, Sylvia Vaughn Sheekman, was born in 1935. Four years later, Stuart convinced her husband they should travel around the world. When they reached France, they tried to volunteer for the French Resistance, but were turned down, so they caught the last ship sailing to New York.[citation needed]

They decided to stay in New York and work in the theater. In the next few years, Sheekman wrote several plays (two with George S. Kaufman) and Stuart got roles mostly in summer stock, including Emily to Thornton Wilder's Stage Manager in Our Town. When Sheekman's third play flopped, they returned to Hollywood, and he was hired by Paramount Pictures. Stuart took singing lessons and toured the country entertaining the troops in hospitals and selling war bonds. In 1946, she opened a small business, Décor, Ltd, where she sold lamps, tables, chests and other objets d'art of decoupage she created.

Sheekman wrote 17 screenplays during the next 16 years. In 1954, with their daughter studying at UC Berkeley, Gloria and Arthur Sheekman joined friends who were living abroad, settling in Rapallo on the Italian Riviera. Inspired by the success of the primitive paintings of Grandma Moses, Stuart took up oil painting. Her first one-woman show at the Hammer Galleries in New York all but sold out.[citation needed] After 43 years of happy marriage, husband Arthur Sheekman succumbed to the effects of Alzheimers Disease, and died on January 12, 1978, just weeks before his 77th birthday. According to widow's autobiography, "I Just Kept Hoping," Sheekamn was cremated and his ashes were buried beneath a tree at their home in Brentwood, California.

Stuart was also active in conservative Republican causes and was active in the campaigns of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. She even attended many of the Republican National Conventions[1]. For several decades she was a member of The Wesley United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, CA[2].

Return to acting – 1970s to 2000s

In 1975, after 29 years away from acting, with her husband, Arthur, in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer's, Gloria got herself an agent and hoped for work. In 1978, Arthur died. Over the next few years she appeared in small parts in television. Then in 1982 came an offer for what was to be one of her favorite scenes in all her films: playing a silver-haired dowager taking a solitary turn around a dance floor with Peter O'Toole in My Favorite Year.

Gloria Stuart produced numerous serigraphs, this limited edition of 20 is called "A Beautiful Summer Wind".
Bonsai called "French black oak forest" was planted by Gloria Stuart in 1982 after returning from France where she picked the acorns while touring the royal forest surrounding the palace at Fontainebleau, near Paris.

During this period, Stuart took up the Japanese art of bonsai, becoming the first Anglo member of the California Bonsai Society. And she began to travel again, going with friends or on her own to Europe, India, Africa, the Balkans. Five years after husband's death, Stuart became reacquainted with California printer Ward Ritchie (Ward Ritchie Press), whom she had known during her college years. Both widowed, they fell in love. She was fascinated by his antique hand press and asked him to teach her how to run it. She bought her own hand press and established "Imprenta Glorias", and began creating artists' books (books hand-made, labor intensive, usually with a very limited run). Stuart wrote the text, designed the book, set the type, printed the pages, and finished pages with water colors or silk screen or decoupage. Books from Imprenta Glorias are in the Metropolitan Museum, Library of Congress, Huntington Library, J. Paul Getty Museum, Morgan Library, Victoria and Albert Museum, Bibliothèque nationale de France, and numerous private and university collections. No longer able to work with small type and a large heavy press, she gave her press and sets of rare type to Mills College. Stuart and Ritchie kept company (each in their own house) until his death from cancer in 1996.

Not long after Ritchie's death, Stuart landed the character of 100-year-old Rose, at the heart of James Cameron's Titanic. Stuart was nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. She remains the oldest person ever to have been nominated for an Oscar. Suzy Amis credited Stuart for bringing her together on the set with her eventual husband, director James Cameron.[3]

Stuart published her autobiography, I Just Kept Hoping, in 1999, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000. Her last appearance on film was a role in Wim Wenders's Land of Plenty in 2004, and afterward she gave numerous filmed and audio interviews. Stuart continued to work at her artist's books, finishing a miniature about a time when she was in Berkeley, called I Dated J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Other work

When Stuart was 99 years old, she was interviewed by writer and actor Mark Gatiss about her role in theThe Old Dark House by James Whale, and about her co-star Boris Karloff, for his 2010 BBC documentary series A History of Horror.[4][5]


Stuart was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 95; however, she still lived to see her 100th birthday. Stuart died just two months later in her sleep of respiratory failure on September 26, 2010, at age 100.[6] She was cremated.

Awards and honors

On June 19, 2010, Stuart was honored by the Screen Actors Guild for her years of service. She was presented the Ralph Morgan Award by Titanic co-star Frances Fisher and in response Stuart replied, "I'm very, very grateful. I've had a wonderful life of giving and sharing."[7]

On July 4, 2010, Stuart celebrated her 100th birthday at the ACE Gallery in Beverly Hills with a party hosted by the director of Titanic, James Cameron and his wife, Suzy Amis. Frances Fisher, and Shirley MacLaine were among the guests.[8]

On July 22, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored her career with a program featuring film clips and a conversation between Stuart and film historian Leonard Maltin.[9]

Stuart later said that she relates with her comeback character of the 100-year-old Rose saying: "I think that's the important thing, if you're full of love, admiration, appreciation of the beautiful things there are in this life, you have it made, really. And I have it made."[10]



See also


  1. ^ Stuart, Gloria I Just Kept Hoping (Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition, 8 September 1999) pages 227-230
  2. ^ Stuart, Gloria I Just Kept Hoping (Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition, 8 September 1999) pages 233
  3. ^ July 5, 2010 (2010-07-05). "'Titanic' actress Gloria Stuart celebrates her 100th birthday | Ministry of Gossip | Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  4. ^ Clarke, Donald. ""Mark Gatiss's History of Horror"". Irish Times. Retrieved 2010-11-02. 
  5. ^ "A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss – Frankenstein Goes To Hollywood Ep 1/3". BBC. 2010-10-11. 
  6. ^ McLellan, Dennis (2010-09-27). "Gloria Stuart, 'Titanic' actress, dies at 100". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company).,0,7578184.story. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  7. ^ "Titanic's Stuart Honoured By Screen Actors Guild". 
  8. ^ "'Titanic' star Gloria Stuart turns 100". USA Today. July 6, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  9. ^ "Gloria Stuart to celebrate 100th birthday by being honored by the Academy". July 1, 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 
  10. ^ Cidoni, Mike (July 22, 2010). "Academy honoring 100-year-old Gloria Stuart". Retrieved 2010-10-03. 


  • Stuart, Gloria; Thompson, Sylvia (1999-09-08). Gloria Stuart: I Just Kept Hoping. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company. ISBN 0316815713. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Gloria Stuart — (1937) Gloria Frances Stuart (* 4. Juli 1910 in Santa Monica, Kalifornien; † 26. September 2010 in Los Angeles, Kalifornien) war eine US amerikanische Schauspielerin. Große Bekanntheit erlangte sie als …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gloria Stuart — en 1934. Nombre real Gloria Frances Stewart Nacimiento 4 de julio de 1910 …   Wikipedia Español

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