"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Lillian Gish

This 1934 caricature of Lillian Gish by Peggy Bacon appeared in Bacon's book Off With Their Heads

Peggy Bacon 1934

Bacon accompanies each of her caricatures with a cartoon and short description. 

Fair, pale apparition, gentle and feminine. Long romantic yellow locks, carelessly curling around smooth brow and large, vague, blue eyes. Pensive, absent air, smiles a trifle to herself intriguingly. Sits demurely with a certain enigmatic reserve in an atmosphere of misty illusion, like somebody seen through a veil of chiffon. Appeal of a little girl nursing a doll combined with the poetic allure of a Maeterlinckian lady. As if of one in possession of a talisman.

The doll may be a faint echo of this short notice that appeared in The Chicago Daybook on November 19, 1915.

Lillian Gish has presented her doll,
which she introduced in "The Lily
and the Rose," to a poor California
girl who expressed a desire for it.
Lillian Gish of course was the “First Lady of the Screen” as this Edward Steichen photo attests.

Here she appears as "Annie Laurie" in an ad for the play of the same name and the Lexington Theater in Lexington Miss. in 1927.

And here she is in a 1925 ad for "The White Sister."

In May 1941 Lillian Gish wrote a news article entitled “Putting the Hooey in War Propaganda” in sympathy with the America First Committee,  exposing the role of propaganda in pushing a nation to war.  She recounted how some of her own performances in D.W. Griffith films had helped push the U.S. into WWI.  (Read it here.)  
Miss Lillian Gish pictured in Chicago as she wrote the story which appears on this page.

 She severed her ties to the America First Committee in September of 1941.

Lillian Gish would again become controversial in the 21st century for her relatively minor role in D.W. Griffith's now infamous “Birth of  a Nation.”

Lillian as Elsie Stoneman, in “Birth of  a Nation”

On May 23rd 2019 the Board of Trustee's  at Bowling Green State University decided to strip the names of Lillian and Dorothy Gish from their theater which had been named for the Gish sisters in 1976 because of Lillian's association with D. W. Griffith and “Birth of  a Nation.”

No comments:

Post a Comment