Dorothy Gish

Born March 11, 1898, in Dayton, Ohio. Without a father around, Lillian and Dorothy Gish's mother had the two girls on stage at a very early age. The girls and their mother lived a less than glamorous life in seedy hotels and on trains between engagements, but did took whatever roles they could to survive. At one point, Mrs. Gish opened a confectionery shop in East St. Louis, but a fire destroyed it, and she had no insurance. However, virtually all of the Gish girls' youth was spent in the theatre until 1912 when they decided to go visit the studio where their good friend from the theatre, Gladys Smith, known as Mary Pickford on the screen, was working. The girls visited the Biograph studio on East 14th Street in New York and were introduced to D.W. Griffith. He immediately put them to work, and their first starring role was in a two-reel drama entitled "The Unseen Enemy" (1912). The Gish sisters became a mainstay of Griffith's stock company appearing in dozens of shorts. Of course, Dorothy and Lillian were included in Griffith's first attempts at feature length films such as "Judith of Bethulia" (1914) and "Home, Sweet Home" (1914) but was not used in his epic "The Birth of a Nation" (1915). However, her role as the "Little Disturber" in Griffith's "Hearts of the World" (1918) brought her recognition such as she had never experienced before. Realizing her comedic talent, Paramount signed her to a contract, and she made 14 films for the company over the next four years. One of these was "Remodeling Her Husband" (1920) which co-starred her husband-to-be that she married that same year, James Rennie, and was the only film ever directed by Lillian. Sadly, the film is lost today. Dorothy co-starred twice more with her sister in "Orphans of the Storm" (1921) and "Romola" (1924) turning in superb performances in both. In all, Dorothy made 17 films from 1920 to 1929, one of the most popular of which was the English made "Nell Gwynne" (1926) which showed she could be alluring, as well. After a 1930 talkie entitled "Wolves," Dorothy and Lillian spent virtually all of their time in very successful careers on the stage. Dorothy even did some radio work during this time. She returned to the big screen again in 1944 in "Our Hearts Were Young and Gay," then three more appearances - "Centennial Summer" (1946), "Whistle at Eaton Falls" (1951) and "The Cardinal" (1963). Dorothy was not in good health during the sixties and finally passed away at her home in Italy June 4, 1968.

Selected films of this star available for viewing:

Judith of Bethulia (1914)

Hearts of the World (1918)

Orphans of the Storm (1921)

Romola (1924)

Nell Gwynne (1926)

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