Stuart’s performance, as Old Rose in Titanic, certainly garnered our attention. As a veteran actress, Stuart certainly demonstrated that she had the maturity, youthfulness and sensitivity to play such a complex role. Stuart’s performance captivated all of us, for we were eager to hear her story. She had us all hooked when she said, “It’s been 84 years…and I can still smell the fresh paint…Titanic was called the ship of dreams. And it was. It really was.”
Becoming the persona of Rose, Stuart takes us on an unforgettable journey of her first romance with Jack Dawson in Titanic. We see how their true love breaks the boundaries of social class. As movie buffs, we cherish one of the most romantic scenes of all when Jack and Rose passionately kiss on the bow of the ship. During this scene, the sunset is spectacular showing that James Cameron adds that magic touch many times throughout the film.
Even though their romance ended tragically, Rose learned to take risks from Jack. Breaking free from an arranged marriage, she now has the courage to live life on her own terms. Since she was a risk taker in real life, just like the fictional character of Rose, Stuart’s performance goes beyond Titanic.
Gloria Frances Stuart (July 4, 1910 – September 26, 2010) began acting when she attended Santa Monica High School. Since she got the lead role in her senior class play, she already showed plenty of potential for a future career in acting. After graduating from Santa Monica High School, she attended the University of California, Berkeley and had a double major in theater and philosophy.
As a college graduate, Stuart embarked on an acting career. As an actress, she worked in Los Angeles and New York City. Stuart catapulted to fame for her role in the horror classic, The Old Dark Horse (1932). For her role as Margaret Woverton, Stuart received plenty of critical acclaim. After starring in The Old Dark Horse, she worked in many other films and proved that she was a versatile actress who could conquer any genre.
Even though she was a notable actress, Stuart took a break from acting from 1945 to 1974 to pursue a career in art. She became a successful artist. Some of her works are even featured in museums. Stuart’s book, which she completed in 1996 with artist Don Bachardy, is owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
After taking a hiatus from acting, Stuart decided to make a comeback. She got small parts in The Waltons and Murder, She Wrote. At the age of 86, when most actresses are retiring from their careers, Stuart got the role of a lifetime as Rose Calvert Dawson in Titanic. During three weeks in the early summer of 1996, Stuart’s filming was completed in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In the world of Hollywood, where younger actresses are more in demand, Stuart certainly beat all of her competition. Stuart’s performance, as Rose Calvert Dawson, earned her a Screen Actor’s Guild Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role among many other nominations and honors.
This April 14th will mark the 109th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Watching the movie Titanic (1997) and critically observing Stuart’s performance as Old Rose is a respectful way to observe the anniversary of this tragedy in which more than 1,500 people lost their lives. Old Rose is a symbol of those who perished in Titanic and is also symbolic of the survivors who lost a part of themselves when the ship sank.
As we take asecond look at Stuart’s performance, as Old Rose, we realize that it is an example of life imitating art. Rose was an artist and an art lover like Stuart. In the beginning of Titanic, Rose is making pottery. She also unpacked a Picasso painting when she was in the suite with Cal. Rose is a centenarian. In real life, Stuart also reached a milestone by turning 100 years old. Old Rose dies in her sleep with sweet memories of her first love, Jack. Stuart also peacefully passes away in her sleep probably with a treasure trove of memories.