Monday, September 27, 2010

~In Memory of Gloria Stuart~

It was with great regret to learn that the glorious Miss Stuart took leave of our company, on the evening of Sunday, September 26, 2010. She was a delightful soul, intelligent, talented, artistic, chronically beautiful. Her career was varied and interesting, co starring in such 1930s classics as The Invisible Man, The Old Dark House, Secret of the Blue Room, Roman Scandals, Here Comes the Navy, Gold Diggers of 1935 and Poor Little Rich Girl. In 1982, she provided a lovely guest appearance in My Favorite Year when waltzing with Peter O'Toole. And needless to enumerate, lots and LOTS of television and documentaries starting in 1975 up until 2009.

And then *of course* there is Titanic. No doubt it will be her Academy Award nominated performance as the elder Rose for which she will be best remembered. By everyone except me.

I was delighted when first learning she would be co starring in a major motion picture, appearing in a film which looked to be a success. "Success" doesn't even begin to describe the ensuing results of Titanic. When the Motion Picture Academy nominated her for Best Supporting Actress, I damn near did a happy dance on my roof. I watched every award show and guest appearance possible and stared in awe when seeing her arrive at the Academy Awards. I so wanted her to win. I was so disappointed when she didn't. But---please forgive this smitten bloggeress---what I would not forget, what I could not get past, was here was one of the last people on Earth who actually knew Ross, acted with him, touched him, kissed him, shared their day with him.

They made one film together in 1935. An engaging little movie titled, Maybe It's Love. They were adorable together and it's a pity Warners did not team them up again. Based on the play, Saturday's Children, by Maxwell Anderson, this second of three efforts veered more towards comedy than the final version starring John Garfield. Maybe It's Love had a sprightly cast, whose forte tended to be comedic and included Frank McHugh, Ruth Donnelly, Helen Lowell, Henry Travers, Joseph Cawthorn, Phil Reed, Dorothy Dare, J. Farrell MacDonald, Maude Eburne, Mary Treen, and Edward Chandler. It spiffs along at a speedy pace and as it tells the story of a full length play in 63 minutes, you may be certain that the original play's plot points and characters were dropped faster than an uncooperative starlet's contract.

Over a decade ago I wrote Miss Stuart, asking if she could share any remembrances of Ross. She didn't recall the film very well, but she certainly remembered him. "Funny," she wrote, "the man was just plain funny. And patient. It seemed like we were always waiting and when we were, he never complained. I would get frustrated and he'd jolly me out of it. I remember his friendliness and how he'd chat with the crew, making jokes. He was very kind and his death was a shock. He changed after his wife died. I wasn't at Warners anymore but did see him from time to time. He was still friendly, but withdrawn. I certainly liked him a great deal."

Tonight I'm going to watch their little film and as I do, remember this lovely woman and her amazing 100 years of life. And the young man who 60+ years later, was still lovingly recalled by someone who obviously cared.