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Lillian Gish (1893–1993)

Lillian Diana Gish was born on October 14, 1893 in Springfield, Ohio. Her father James Lee Gish was an alcoholic who caroused around, was rarely at home and left the family to more or less to fend for themselves. To help make ends meet, Lillian, her sister Dorothy Gish and their mother Mary Gish a.k.a. Mary Robinson McConnell tried their hand at ... See full bio »

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La Bohème
Fri, Apr 05 4:30 AM EDT on TCM (276)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Known For

The Night of the Hunter Rachel Cooper
The Whales of August Sarah Webber
Duel in the Sun Laura Belle McCanles
Way Down East Anna Moore


Hide Hide Show Show Actress (119 credits)
 1987 The Whales of August
Sarah Webber
 1986 Sweet Liberty
Cecelia Burgess
 1986 American Playhouse (TV Series)
Mrs Loftus
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Part I (1986) ... Mrs Loftus
 1983 Hambone and Hillie
Hillie Radcliffe
 1983 Hobson's Choice (TV Movie)
Miss Molly Winkle
 1981 Thin Ice (TV Movie)
 1981 The Love Boat (TV Series)
Mrs. Williams
 1978 Sparrow (TV Movie)
 1978 A Wedding
Nettie Sloan
 1976 Twin Detectives (TV Movie)
Billy Jo Haskins
 1969 Arsenic and Old Lace (TV Movie)
Martha Brewster
 1967 The Comedians
Mrs. Smith
 1967 Warning Shot
Alice Willows
 1966 Follow Me, Boys!
Hetty Seibert
 1964 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (TV Series)
Bessie Carnby
- Body in the Barn (1964) ... Bessie Carnby
 1962-1964 The Defenders (TV Series)
Mrs. Cooper / Louisa Clarendon
- Stowaway (1964) ... Mrs. Cooper
- Grandma TNT (1962) ... Louisa Clarendon
 1963 Breaking Point (TV Series)
Stella Manville
- The Gnu, Now Almost Extinct (1963) ... Stella Manville
 1963 Mr. Novak (TV Series)
Maude Phipps
- Hello, Miss Phipps (1963) ... Maude Phipps
 1961 Theatre '62 (TV Series)
 1961 The Spiral Staircase (TV Movie)
Mrs. Warren
 1960 The Unforgiven
Mattilda Zachary
 1960 Play of the Week (TV Series)
Dolly Talbo
- The Grass Harp (1960) ... Dolly Talbo
 1958 Orders to Kill
Mrs. Summers
 1956 The Alcoa Hour (TV Series)
Esther Crampton
- Morning's at Seven (1956) ... Esther Crampton
 1956 Ford Star Jubilee (TV Series)
Mary Todd Lincoln
- The Day Lincoln Was Shot (1956) ... Mary Todd Lincoln
 1955 Playwrights '56 (TV Series)
Mrs. Compson
- The Sound and the Fury (1955) ... Mrs. Compson
 1955 Kraft Theatre (TV Series)
Mrs. Bibb
- I, Mrs. Bibb (1955) ... Mrs. Bibb
 1955 The Night of the Hunter
Rachel Cooper
 1955 The Cobweb
Victoria Inch
 1954 Campbell Summer Soundstage (TV Series)
Miss Harrington
- The Corner Druggist (1954) ... Miss Harrington
 1951-1954 Robert Montgomery Presents (TV Series)
 1949-1953 Repertory Theatre (TV Series)
Carrie Watts / Narrator / Abby
- The Trip to Bountiful (1953) ... Carrie Watts
- The Birth of the Movies (1951) ... Narrator
- The Late Christopher Bean (1949) ... Abby
 1953 The Trip to Bountiful (TV Movie)
Carrie Watts
 1952 Schlitz Playhouse (TV Series)
Grandma Moses
- The Autobiography of Grandma Moses (1952) ... Grandma Moses
 1951 Celanese Theatre (TV Series)
Sister Christina
- The Joyous Season (1951) ... Sister Christina
 1949 The Ford Theatre Hour (TV Series)
Mrs. Midget
- Outward Bound (1949) ... Mrs. Midget
 1948 Portrait of Jennie
Mother Mary of Mercy
 1946 Duel in the Sun
Laura Belle McCanles
 1946 Miss Susie Slagle's
Miss Susie Slagle
 1943 Top Man
Beth Warren
 1942 Commandos Strike at Dawn
Mrs. Bergesen
 1933 His Double Life
Alice Chalice
 1930 One Romantic Night
Princess Alexandra
 1928 The Wind
Letty Mason
 1927 The Enemy
Pauli Arndt
 1927 Annie Laurie
Annie Laurie
 1926 The Scarlet Letter
Hester Prynne
 1926 La Bohème
 1925 Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Chariot Race Spectator (uncredited)
 1924 Romola
 1923 The White Sister
Angela Chiaromonte
 1921 Orphans of the Storm
Henriette Girard
 1920 Way Down East
Anna Moore
 1919 The Greatest Question
Nellie Jarvis
 1919 True Heart Susie
True Heart Susie
 1919 Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl
Lucy - The Girl (as Miss Lillian Gish)
 1919 A Romance of Happy Valley
Jennie Timberlake
 1918 The Greatest Thing in Life
Jeannette Peret
 1918 The Great Love
Susie Broadplains
 1918 Hearts of the World
The Girl - Marie Stephenson
 1917 Souls Triumphant
Lillian Vale
 1916 Pathways of Life (Short)
 1916 The House Built Upon Sand
Evelyn Dare
 1916 The Children Pay
 1916 Diane of the Follies
 1916 Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages
The Woman Who Rocks the Cradle / Eternal Mother
 1916 An Innocent Magdalene
Dorothy Raleigh
 1916 Sold for Marriage
 1916 Daphne and the Pirate
Daphne La Tour
 1915 The Lily and the Rose
Mary Randolph
 1915 Captain Macklin (Short)
 1915 Enoch Arden (Short)
Annie Lee
 1915 The Lost House (Short)
Dosia Dale
 1915 The Birth of a Nation
Elsie - Stoneman's Daughter
 1915 His Lesson (Short)
Participant in Mob Scene (uncredited)
 1914 A Duel for Love (Short)
 1914 The Sisters (Short)
 1914 The Folly of Anne (Short)
 1914 The Tear That Burned (Short)
Anita - the Truant
 1914 Man's Enemy (Short)
Grace Lisle
 1914 The Angel of Contention (Short)
Nettie - the Angel
 1914 Lord Chumley (Short)
Eleanor Butterworth
 1914 The Rebellion of Kitty Belle (Short)
Kitty Belle
 1914 Home, Sweet Home
Payne's Sweetheart
 1914/I The Quicksands (Short)
 1914 The Battle of the Sexes
Jane Andrews, the daughter
 1914/I The Hunchback (Short)
The Orphan - as an Adult
 1914 Judith of Bethulia
The Young Mother
 1914 The Green-Eyed Devil (Short)
Mary Miller
 1913 The Battle of Elderbush Gulch (Short)
Melissa Harlow
 1913 The Conscience of Hassan Bey (Short)
The Rugmaker's Daughter
 1913 Madonna of the Storm (Short)
The Mother
 1913 So Runs the Way (Short)
Fred's Wife
 1913 A Modest Hero (Short)
The Wife
 1913 A Woman in the Ultimate (Short)
 1913 An Indian's Loyalty (Short)
The Ranchero's Daughter
 1913 During the Round-Up (Short)
The Ranchero's Daughter
 1913 The Mothering Heart (Short)
The Young Wife
 1913 A Timely Interception (Short)
The Farmer's Daughter
 1913 Just Gold (Short)
The Sweetheart
 1913 The House of Darkness (Short)
The Nurse
 1913 The Lady and the Mouse (Short)
The First Sister Woman
 1913 The Left-Handed Man (Short)
The Old Soldier's Daughter
 1913 A Misunderstood Boy (Short)
The Daughter
 1913 The Little Tease (Short)
Girl in bandanna
 1913 The Unwelcome Guest (Short)
At Auction (uncredited)
 1913 Oil and Water (Short)
In First Audience (uncredited)
 1912 A Cry for Help (Short)
The Maid
 1912 The Burglar's Dilemma (Short)
Birthday Wellwisher
 1912 The New York Hat (Short)
Customer in Shop / Outside Church
 1912 Brutality (Short)
At Theatre
 1912 Gold and Glitter (Short)
The Young Woman
 1912 The Musketeers of Pig Alley (Short)
The Little Lady
 1912 The Painted Lady (Short)
Belle at Ice Cream Festival (uncredited)
 1912 In the Aisles of the Wild (Short)
The Younger Daughter
 1912 So Near, Yet So Far (Short)
A Friend
 1912 Two Daughters of Eve (Short)
In Theatre Crowd
 1912 An Unseen Enemy (Short)
The Older Sister
Show Show Writer (3 credits)
Show Show Soundtrack (2 credits)
Show Show Director (1 credit)
Show Show Producer (1 credit)
Show Show Miscellaneous Crew (1 credit)
Show Show Thanks (2 credits)
Show Show Self (51 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (42 credits)

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Personal Details

Other Works:

Stage: Appeared (as "Morganie"; Broadway debut) in "A Good Little Devil" on Broadway. Written by Rosemonde Gerard and Maurice Rostand. Book adapted by Austin Strong. Theatre Republic: 8 Jan 1913-May 1913 (closing date unknown/133 performances). Cast: Mary Pickford (as "Juliet"), Ernest Truex (as "Charles MacLance"), Augusta Anderson (... See more »

Publicity Listings:

4 Biographical Movies | 6 Print Biographies | 2 Portrayals | 9 Interviews | 37 Articles | 3 Pictorials | 24 Magazine Cover Photos | See more »

Alternate Names:

Dorothy Elizabeth Carter | Miss Lillian Gish


5' 4" (1.63 m)

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

[after failing to receive a Best Actress nomination for The Whales of August (1987)] Oh, well. At least I won't have to lose to Cher. See more »


At her 1984 AFI Life Achievment Award ceremony, John Houseman claimed that she and her sister Dorothy Gish were offered the chance to buy the Sunset strip for $300. After considering the offer, they decided to spend the money for two dresses at the fashionable Bullock's department store instead. See more »


Later often played willful but conflicted women See more »


The First Lady of American Cinema

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