Gloria Stuart, the 1930s starlet who became the oldest person ever to be nominated for an Academy Award with her career-making turn in Titanic, has died. She was 100.
Stuart died Sunday night at her West Los Angeles home, her daughter, Sylvia Thompson, told The Los Angeles Times. Stuart was diagnosed with lung cancer five years ago.
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"She also was a breast cancer survivor," Thompson said, "but she just paid no attention to illness. She was a very strong woman and had other fish to fry."
Stuart turned 100 on July 4 and celebrated with Titanic director James Cameron and his wife, Titanic co-star Suzy Amis, at the "Academy Centennial Celebration with Gloria Stuart."
The actress was 87 when she starred as the 101-year-old version of Kate Winslet's Titanic survivor Rose Dawson Calvert, who dropped the "Heart of the Ocean" diamond into the water in the 1997 blockbuster. She became the oldest person nominated for an Oscar, but lost the supporting actress award to Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential).
A glamorous blonde and one of the founders of the Screen Actors Guild, Stuart got her start in the 1930s, making more than 40 films by the end of the decade while under contract at Universal Studios and 20th Century Fox. Among her credits are The Invisible Man with Claude Rains, John Ford's The Prisoner of Shark Island, Roman Scandals, Gold Diggers of 1935 and Here Comes the Navy with James Cagney. She also starred opposite Shirley Temple in Poor Little Rich Girl and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.
Stuart's latest contract with 20th Century Fox was not renewed at the turn of the decade, and she only made four films in the '40s, falling further away from achieving A-list status. She retired from acting in 1946 and took up art, becoming an accomplished painter and printer.
Watch videos of Gloria Stuart
After 30 years, Stuart returned to acting, taking bit parts in films, including 1982's My Favorite Year, in which she had no lines, but danced with Peter O'Toole. More than a decade later, she was asked to audition for Titanic.
In her 1999 autobiography, Gloria Stuart: I Just Kept Hoping, Stuart said that after reading the script, "I knew the role I had wanted and waited for all these many years had arrived! I could taste the role of Old Rose!"
Her last screen appearance was in the 2004 Michelle Williams drama Land of Plenty.
Stuart was married twice, first to sculptor Blair Gordon Newell from 1930-34, and then to screenwriter Arthur Sheekman, who penned Roman Scandals, from 1934 until his death in 1978.
In addition to her daughter, from her marriage to Sheekman, Stuart is survived by four grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.