Gloria Frances Stuart (née Gloria Stewart; July 4, 1910 – September 26, 2010) was an American actress, visual artist, and activist. She was initially known for her roles in Pre-Code films, though she would garner renewed fame later in life for her critically acclaimed role in James Cameron’s Titanic (1997). Her accolades include a Screen Actors Guild Award, one Golden Globe nomination, and one Academy Award nomination. Nominated at age 86, she is the oldest person, as of 2019, to receive an Academy Award nomination in the category of Best Supporting Actress.
A native of Santa Monica, California, Stuart began acting while in high school. After attending the University of California, Berkeley, she embarked on a career in theater, performing in local productions and summer stock in Los Angeles and New York City. She signed a film contract with Universal Pictures in 1932, and acted in numerous films for the studio, including the horror films The Old Dark House (1932) and The Invisible Man (1933), followed by roles in the Shirley Temple musicals Poor Little Rich Girl (1936) and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938). She also starred as Queen Anne in the musical comedy The Three Musketeers (1939).
Beginning in 1940, Stuart slowed her film career, instead performing in regional theater in New England. In 1945, following a tenure as a contract player for Twentieth Century Fox, Stuart abandoned her acting career and shifted to a career as an artist, working as a fine printer and making paintings, serigraphy, miniature books, Bonsai, and découpage for the next three decades. She produced numerous pieces during this period, many of which are part of collections in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Stuart gradually returned to acting in the late 1970s, appearing in several bit parts, including in Richard Benjamin’s My Favorite Year (1982) and Wildcats (1986). She made a prominent return to mainstream cinema when she was cast as the 101-year-old elder Rose Dawson Calvert in Titanic (1997), which earned her numerous accolades and renewed attention. Her final film performance was in Wim Wenders’ Land of Plenty (2004). She died of respiratory failure in September 2010, aged 100.
In addition to her acting and art careers, Stuart was lifelong environmental and political activist, who served as a co-founding member of the Screen Actors Guild and the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League.