Lillian Gish

Lillian Diana Gish (1893 - 1993)

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Lillian Diana Gish
Born in Springfield, Clark County, Ohiomap
Ancestors ancestors
Died in New York, New Yorkmap
Profile last modified 1 May 2020 | Created 17 Dec 2014 | Last significant change: 1 May 2020
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Lillian Gish is Notable.


I think the things that are necessary in my profession are these: Taste, Talent and Tenacity. I think I have had a little of all three. -- Lillian Gish[1]

Lillian Gish was a stage and screen actress whose career spanned more than 75 years, from 1912 to 1987. She was called the First Lady of American Cinema. [2]

She was a prominent film star particularly through the era of silent film, from 1912 into the 1920s, and was frequently cast by the director D. W. Griffith. Lillian starred in the highest-grossing film of the silent era, Griffith's The Birth of a Nation in 1915. With the advent of sound pictures, she returned to the stage, appearing on Broadway. She returned to film in 1943 and in 1946 she earned an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her role of Laura Belle McCanles in Duel in the Sun. Another acclaimed performance came in the thriller The Night of the Hunter in 1955.[3] In the 1950s and 1960s, she appeared frequently on television. Her final film role came in 1987 in The Whales of August with Bette Davis.[4]

Lillian was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on February 8, 1960. She was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1972. In 1984 she received the American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award.[5] She appeared in seven films selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.[6]

She was born Lillian Diana Gish on 14 October 1893 in Springfield, Clark, Ohio, the daughter of James Leigh Gish and Mary McConnell.[7] In her early acting career, she subsequently became younger and younger as her parents shaved years off her birth. By the time Lillian wrote her autobiography, nearly eight years had disappeared.[8]

Lillian never married, nor did she have any children. In her earlier years, she primarily lived with her immediate family, her parents and sister, Dorothy, who also was an actress. At the time of the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Lillian was 23, living in Mamaroneck, Westchester, New York, working as an actress, and living with her mother, Mary, and her sister Dorothy, along with three servants, including Harry Shibata, a native of Japan, Charlotee Losee, a native of New York, and Marie Cacobson, a native of Norway.[9] At the time of the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Lillian was 30, and living in Manhattan, New York, along with her mother, Mary, and three servants: Mary Darner, a native of Pennsylvania, Josephine Schunda, a native of Austria, and Aukin Matsuyama, a native of Japan. [10] At the time of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census, Lillian was living in Chicago, Illinois, residing as a guest at the Blackstone Hotel.[11] The estimated birth years for Lillian at each census were 1897 for 1920; 1900 for 1930; and 1905 for 1940.

Lillian died 27 February 1993 in New York City at the age of 99. [12][13]


  1. Lillian Gish Biography on IMDb, by Denny Jackson.
  2. Wikipedia, Lillian Gish
  3. Lillian Gish Biography on IMDb, by Denny Jackson.
  4. Wikipedia, Lillian Gish
  5. Lillian Gish Biography on IMDb, by Denny Jackson.
  6. Her films selected for the film registry were The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912), The Birth of a Nation (1915), Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916), Broken Blossoms (1919), Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925), The Wind (1928) and The Night of the Hunter (1955).
  7. "Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 March 2018), Lillian Diana Gisle, 14 Oct 1893; citing Birth, Springfield, Clark, Ohio, United States, county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 466,658.
  8. Lillian Gish, Her Legend, Her Life by Charles Affron. Accessed via New York Times Books. This source has a wealth of information about Lillian's ancestry and biographical information relating to her immediate family.
  9. "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 October 2019), Lillian D Gish in household of Mary R Gish, Mamaroneck, Westchester, New York, United States; citing ED 62, sheet 10B, line 100, family 225, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1275; FHL microfilm 1,821,275.
  10. "United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 October 2019), Lillian Gish in household of Mary Gish, Manhattan (Districts 0501-0750), New York, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 616, sheet 9B, line 94, family 278, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1562; FHL microfilm 2,341,297.
  11. "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 28 July 2019), Lillian Gish, Ward 1, Chicago, Chicago City, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 103-11, sheet 83A, line 27, family , Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 921.
  12. "United States Social Security Death Index," database, FamilySearch ( : 20 May 2014), Lillian D Gish, 27 Feb 1993; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  13. Find a Grave Memorial for Lillian Gish.

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Lillian was my 4th cousin, twice removed through the Robinson line.
posted by Anonymous Magyar

Lillian is 18 degrees from Donald Howard, 16 degrees from Julia Howe and 18 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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Categories: Famous Actors of the 20th Century | Notables