Titanic Survivors Stories Part One – Dorothy Gibson

Titanic-survivors-Dorothy-Gibson-1Back in 1912, the mighty unsinkable ship, the RMS Titanic was on its maiden voyage taking both the richest and poorest people in the world from England to New York City.  Four days into the maiden voyage, the worst thing in the world happened, and the Titanic brushed up against an iceberg, popped the metal plates, and then it was instantly doomed to sink.  There were over 2200 people on board, but only 705 ended up surviving in 20 small lifeboats. Once the world got word that the Titanic had sunk, the world was dying for any information they can, and waited on pins and needles while the Carpathia steamed as quickly as possible to New York City. Once the Carpathia got to New York City, everyone wanted answers, and there was one sure way that they were going to get it was from a movie. Dorothy Gibson was one of the 705 survivors, and she was an actress that got her claim to fame because not only did she survive the disaster, but starred in the very first movie all about the Titanic disaster.

The Early Life of Dorothy Gibson

Dorothy Gibson was not the name that this famous actress was born with, and her real name was Dorothy Winifred Brown.  Born on May 17, 1889 in Hoboken, New Jersey, Gibson lost her father John Brown when she was only three years old. Her mother, Pauline Caroline Boesen, then remarried a man named John Leonard Gibson, who then adopted the toddler as his own child.

The Modeling Career and Stage Career of Dorothy Gibson

When she was 17 years old, Dorothy Gibson began appearing on stage as both a singer and a dancer in many vaudeville productions. Gibson got enough attention that she landed a large role in the musical, The Dairymaids.  In 1909, Gibson also began modeling, and posed for the famous artist, Harrison Fisher, and soon he was her favorite choice when it came to his work. Fisher began putting Gibson in things like posters, postcards, and other commercial merchandise.  Gibson also began appearing on the covers of the most popular magazines at the time like Cosmopolitan, Ladies Home Journal, and the Saturday Evening Post. Also at the height of her modeling career for Harrison Fisher, Dorothy Gibson married a man named George Battier, but the marriage only lasted for about five years before the couple filed for divorce.

Dorothy Gibson Goes To the Movies

In 1911, Dorothy Gibson decided to try her hand at movies, and she was represented by a theatrical agent named Pat Casey.  Gibson joined Independent Moving Pictures company, and then later, she joined Lubin Studios.  When audiences got a look at the lovely Dorothy Gibson, they fell instantly in love with her, and all the pictures she were in became instant hits. Because of her popularity, Gibson was one of the first actresses that was considered a star. Gibson had a very natural style of acting that made her able to star in any kind of movies whether the roles she was portrayed were dramas or comedies.  The most profitable movie that Gibson starred in was the 1911 movie, Hands Across the Sea in which she played the role of Molly Pitcher.

Dorothy Gibson On the RMS Titanic

Titanic-survivors-Dorothy-Gibson-Movie-PosterDorothy Gibson, and her mother, were on vacation in Italy for six weeks. After the time was up, Gibson and her mother, wanted to return to America, and the RMS Titanic was the ship they chose to board.  The voyage was calm and peaceful, and on the fateful night the Titanic hit the iceberg, Gibson, and her mother, were playing bridge with friends in the Titanic’s lounge.  The two women, and two of the women they played with, all got into lifeboat number seven.  When the Carpathia arrived back in New York with Gibson, she went right to her manager, and asked to appear in a film about the sinking of the Titanic. Gibson both wrote the movie, and starred in it as well, and to add to the realism, she also wore the very dress she wore that horrible night.  The movie called, Saved From the Titanic, came out less than one month after the Titanic sank, but unfortunately, all known prints of the movie were destroyed in a fire at Éclair Studios in New Jersey.

You can also learn more about how many people perished on the Titanic overall here.

 

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