Fast Facts

  • Was good friends with fellow silent-film star Mary Pickford, who introduced her to director D.W. Griffith.
  • Along with her sister, Dorothy, made her film debut in Griffith's An Unseen Enemy (1912).
  • Made her first talkie, One Romantic Night, in 1930.
  • Returned to the Broadway stage in the '30s, where her roles included Ophelia to John Gielgud's Hamlet, before resuming her film career with 1942's Commandos Strike at Dawn.
  • Wrote several memoirs, including The Movies, Mr. Griffith and Me (1969), Dorothy and Lillian Gish (1973) and An Actor's Life for Me! (1987).
  • Received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 1984.
  • Made her final film appearance in 1987's The Whales of August, for which she was named Best Actress by the Independent Spirit Awards and the National Board of Review.


  • 1968, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 1970, Oscar — Honorary Award: Winner
  • 1946, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
  • 1988, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Female Lead: Nominee


  • Dorothy Gish — Sister
  • Mary Robinson McConnell — Mother
  • James Leigh Gish — Father
  • Charles Duell — Ex-significant Other
  • George Jean Nathan — Ex-significant Other


  • Birth Name: Lillian Diana Gish
  • Birth Place: Springfield, OH
  • Died: February 27, 1993
  • Profession: Actor

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