In these modern times, would you care to nominate any movie star who’s career is likely to last 75 years? Probably not? And lets face it, even if they did, the chances of them making 1 silent movie, let alone hundreds in that career, very unlikely!
But did you know, there was one movie star who did both, and managed to live within 8 months of reaching her century? Well, some readers might, but I suspect, not many. But yes, that amazing lady was Lillian Gish, who would have been 125 today, had she still been living, and she did her best to do so!
Of course, a lot of those silent movies are now lost to time, a lot of that down to films being made on nitrate film back then, which was a highly volatile material, to put it mildly. Indeed a lot of the lost films relate to fires created by these films being burnt to shreds. Thankfully, a number of her films do survive, unlike poor Theda Bara for example, who has 2 extant films from the numerous ones she made.
The thing is, back in the 1910’s (yes, a century ago), she was one of the biggest stars of the time. And she stayed that way until the dreaded introduction of sound to the movies. Though whether it was a lack of interest, or a lack of something else (her voice seemed fine in later life), she didnt make many talkies back then, before her retirement. Well, partial retirement, because as stated, she didnt actually make her last movie until 1987, at the grand old age of 94!
No, no one really knows why she never married in her life, though she did say she was married to her movies. But apart from one fling, and another reputed earlier affair, she never seems to have shown interest in romance. Was it that her preference was frowned upon back then, or was she really just totally asexual, who knows?
But yes, on this day in 1893, one of the great movie legends entered the world, and it took until 1993 before she left it again! So happy heavenly birthday, Miss Gish!
OK, video time. Well, this guy is still with us, though only (only!) 79 at this time. I know, the number is 109 out, but what can a woman do?