Los Angeles, Sep 28, Gloria Stuart, the Oscar-nominated actress who revived a long-dormant career to play an elderly survivor in the film “Titanic”, has died at the age of 100.
Stuart died Sunday at her West Los Angeles home, her niece Sylvia Thompson told the Los Angeles Times. The cause of death was unclear, though Stuart was diagnosed with lung cancer five years ago.
“She also was a breast cancer survivor,” Thompson said, “but she just paid no attention to illness. She was a very strong woman and had other fish to fry.”
Stuart was cast in the role of old Rose in “Titanic” by director James Cameron, who was looking for a star from the 1930s or ’40s who had been off the Hollywood radar.
Among the approximately 50 films Stuart made in that era, she starred opposite Claude Rains in James Whale’s “The Invisible Man” and with Warner Baxter in John Ford’s “The Prisoner of Shark Island”.
She played opposite James Cagney in “Here Comes the Navy” and was in two Shirley Temple movies, “Poor Little Rich Girl” and “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm”.
Stuart withdrew from screen acting after becoming disillusioned with the roles she was getting under the Hollywood studio system and only re-entered the fray at the age of 86, when she auditioned for the “Titanic” role.
In what become the biggest-grossing film of all time until Cameron’s “Avatar” earlier this year, Stuart played Rose Calvert, the 100-year-old “Titanic” survivor. Kate Winslet portrayed Rose as a young woman in flashbacks to the love story aboard the legendary ship.
“I knew the role I had wanted and waited for all these many years had arrived! I could taste the role of Old Rose!” she wrote in her 1999 memoir, Gloria Stuart: I Just Kept Hoping.