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Monday, September 27, 2010

Titanic's Gloria Stuart dies at 100

Actress Gloria Stuart, who played Kate Winslet's character as an elderly woman in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic, has died. She was 100.

(Gloria Stuart, shown March 23, 1998, at the 70th Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles, earned an Oscar nomination for her role in the blockbuster movie Titanic.)

Stuart died Sunday night in her sleep at her Los Angeles home, a family member said.

As Old Rose, Stuart returns to the site of the wrecked ship and rids herself of the enormous blue diamond she wore as a young woman before dying in her bed.

Stuart earned a best supporting actress Academy Award nomination for the role, the oldest actor to earn a performance nomination at age 87. It made her a celebrity, and she went on to play several TV and film roles in her 90s.

Stuart began acting in films in the 1930s and was a founding member of the Screen Actress Guild.

Born in Santa Monica, Calif., she was a blonde beauty who acted in college and signed to Universal Studios for what proved to be a series of B movies.

Her most significant roles were the love interest of Dick Powell in the Busby Berkeley musical Gold Diggers of 1935 and the wife of the imprisoned Dr. Samuel Mudd in John Ford's The Prisoner of Shark.

She also had roles opposite Shirley Temple in Poor Little Rich Girl in 1936 and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm in 1938.

Stuart retired from acting in 1946 and became a painter and printmaker but resumed her career in 1975 with a role in the TV movie The Legend of Lizzie Borden.

She also appeared in episodes of Murder, She Wrote and The Waltons and had a cameo, dancing with Peter O'Toole, in the film My Favorite Year.

Her first husband was sculptor Blair Gordon Newell, whom she divorced in 1934 to marry screenwriter Arthur Sheekman.


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