Gloria Frances Stuart was born on July 4, 1910 in Santa Monica, California popularly known as Gloria Stuart. She was an actress, voice-over artist and a painter. Her father, Frank Stewart was an attorney who died in a truck accident when Gloria was nine years old and her mother married a local businessman.
Gloria went to Santa Monica High School where she learned and practiced theatre. She also worked for Santa Monica Outlook as she loved writing too. She went to University of California, Berkley to study philosophy and drama. She married Blair Gordon in June 1930 and moved to Carmel with him.
She worked at the Theatre of the Golden Bough before she was noticed in private theatre, The Playbox. After her first play she was noticed by Universal Studios and Paramount where they both tossed to sign the actress. The Universal won it and Gloria signed a contract with them. Stuart’s first appearance as the main role was in Street of Women and then The All-American. After that, she was announced as the most likely to succeed actress by The Western Association of Motion Pictures. Then she was casted by James Whale in The Old Dark House in 1932 as Margaret Waverton and subsequently in
The Invisible Man
(1933) based on the novel of H.G. Wells and The Kiss Before the Mirror in 1933 where she played Lucy Bernsdorf. Director John Ford gave her first co-starring role opposite Pat Obrien and Ralph Bellamy in Air Mail.
In 1934 Stuart worked for Warner Brothers in, Here Comes the Navy. After that she worked in Gold Diggers of 1935 and left Universal, joined Twentieth Century-Fox. She starred in 1936 with Warner Baxter in The Prisoner of Shark Island, The Girl on the Front Page and many movies. In 1939, she starred in
The Three Musketeers
and movies like Winner Take All in which she was not widely praised or noticed. Also, in 1934 Gordon Newell divorced Stuart, not happy with her wife’s Hollywood life. Stuart met a movie writer named Arthur Sheekman and married him after a divorce with Newell and had a daughter named Sylvia.
In 1939, she traveled various places and wanted to work in France as hospital volunteer but they refused to accept her and she returned to New York City. She started working in Summer stock theatre and performed in Man and Superman which is satirical comedy, The Night of January 16th, a play based in a courtroom and shows a murder trial. She worked in Mr. and Mrs. North which is a play based on amateur detectives and The Pursuit of Happyness in 1940’s. Also, at the same time she opened her furniture shop and took oil painting. She learned the art of bonsai and her artworks were shown in various exhibitions.
In 1975, she resumed her acting through television playing roles in The Waltons and Murder, She Wrote, Merlene of the Movies. Meanwhile, in 1978 her husband died. She met her old friend Ritchie who was the master printer and knew her from Carmel days. Stuart learnt the art of printing and opened her printing press Imprenta Glorias and created some finest books like Flight of Butterfly Kites which is displayed in J. Paul Getty Museum.
Finally, in 1996 she was offered a film role from Lightstorm Entertainment directed by
for playing Old Rose in TITANIC and giving voice over. On December 7, 1997 she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. People Magazine included her in the list of 50 most beautiful people and she was honored by Screen Actors Guild in 2010. She also has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Centennial Celebration honored by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
At the age of 94, she was diagnosed with lung cancer and died at the age of 100 on September 26, 2010 after surviving 6 years with radiation treatment. In 2012, her grandson released the documentary on her life in which she made some final appearances before her death, titled Secret Life of Old Rose: The Art of Gloria Stuart.