Gloria Stuart, the 1930s Hollywood leading lady who years later became the oldest Academy Award acting nominee for her role as the spunky survivor in "Titanic," has died. She was 100.
Stuart died of respiratory failure Sunday night at her Los Angeles home, her daughter, Sylvia Thompson, said Monday. The actress had been diagnosed with lung cancer five years ago and had beaten breast cancer about 20 years ago, Thompson said.
"She did not believe in illness. She paid no attention to it, and it served her well," Thompson said. "She had a great life. I'm not sad. I'm happy for her."
In her youth, Stuart was a blond beauty who starred in B pictures as well as some higher-profile ones such as "The Invisible Man," Busby Berkeley's "Gold Diggers of 1935" and two Shirley Temple movies, "Poor Little Rich Girl" and "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm." But by the mid-1940s she had retired.
She resumed acting in the 1970s, doing occasional television and film work, including Peter O'Toole's 1982 comedy "My Favorite Year." But Stuart's later career would have remained largely a footnote if James Cameron had not chosen her for his 1997 epic about the doomed luxury liner that struck an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage in 1912.