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Lillian Gish

Lillian Gish

Lillian Gish, born in Springfield, Ohio on October 14, 1893, was a pioneering silent film icon known as the ‘First Lady of American Cinema’. She began performing onstage with her sister Dorothy at a young age before graduating to the fledgling film industry in the second decade of the 20th Century. 

Her collaborations with director D.W. Griffith became legendary, including the controversial The Birth of a Nation (1915) and the influential Intolerance (1916). Gish was celebrated for her emotive performances, often portraying fragile, innocent characters. 

Once the silent era transitioned into the ’talkies, Gish appeared on screen less frequently, but she continued to captivate audiences with roles in movies like Duel of the Sun (1946) and The Night of the Hunter (1955).


She received a Special Academy award in 1971 for ‘superlative artistry and for distinguished contribution to the progress of motion pictures’ and became a high-profile advocate for the preservation of silent film. She passed away in 1993 having appeared in over 100 films across a period of 75 years. 

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