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 Dorothy Gibson

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Dorothy Gibson

  • Birth 17 May 1889 Hoboken, Hudson County, New Jersey, USA
  • Death 17 Feb 1946 Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
  • Burial Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Departement des Yvelines, Île-de-France, France
  • Memorial ID 10293502

Actress. A survivor of the Titanic sinking, her life was more colorful than her films. Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, she started out as a model for fashion illustrator Harrison Fisher and began appearing in films for the Eclair studio in 1911. She also became romantically involved with Eclair producer Jules Brulator, who was 20 years older and married. Gibson appeared in such silent one-reel epics as "Miss Masquerader", "The Musician's Daughter" (both 1911), "Love Finds a Way," "The Awakening," and "A Living Memory" (all 1912). Early in March 1912 she sailed to Europe on a holiday with her mother; the possessive Brulator deluged her with telegrams, and when she proved less than responsive he pulled rank and ordered her back to the studio. In England Gibson booked passage home on the maiden voyage of the luxury liner Titanic, hoping to enjoy a few more days of pampering before returning to work. On the night of April 14, 1912, Gibson was playing bridge in the ship's library when the Titanic struck an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland. According to surviving witnesses the young actress instantly realized the gravity of the situation. Gibson and her mother were among the 29 passengers put into Lifeboat No. 7, the first to leave the ship. They had drifted two miles from the scene when they saw the Titanic go down. "I will never forget the terrible cry that rang from the people who were thrown into the sea", she later recalled. Upon her return to New York she was rushed into production of "Saved from the Titanic" (1912), which Eclair released on May 14, just a month after the disaster. Gibson not only starred in the film, she co-wrote the script (giving herself a heroic role) and even wore the same clothes she had on during the sinking. It was her biggest hit. Gibson then decided to retire from acting and become Brulator's full-time mistress. Their affair was scandalously exposed in 1915 when the couple were involved in a car crash that killed another passenger; Gibson was behind the wheel. After his wife divorced him Brulator married Gibson in 1917, but they seperated two years later and divorced in 1923. She never remarried. Gibson settled in Paris in 1927 and remained there through the Nazi occupation during World War II. This was highly unusual for an American, and the fact that she was having an affair with a Spanish Fascist diplomat cast further suspicion on her activities. In April 1944 she was arrested in Italy as an enemy alien and threatened with being sent to a concentration camp, but she managed to escape to Switzerland. There she was arrested again on suspicion of espionage, only to be cleared of wrongdoing after intervention from the American Vice Consul. After the war Gibson returned to France, her health undermined by her experiences. She died of a heart attack at the Hotel Ritz in Paris.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 9 Jan 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10293502
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Dorothy Gibson (17 May 1889–17 Feb 1946), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10293502, citing Saint Germain-en-Laye Old Communal Cemetery, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Departement des Yvelines, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .