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Dorothy Gibson was an actress more likely known for surviving the sinking of the Titanic than for her film roles.
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Actress, Titanic survivor. Born in 1889 in Hoboken, New Jersey. A silent film actress, Dorothy Gibson brought her experiences from the 1912 Titanic disaster to the big screen. She began her career as a model, most famously as the inspiration for illustrator Harrison Fisher. Her likeness adorned magazines, newspapers, and advertisements, earning her the nickname the ??Original Harrison Fisher Girl.??
In 1911, Gibson moved on to films. She went to work for the American division of Société Francais des Films et Cinematographes clair, which had a big studio complex in Fort Lee, New Jersey. After making numerous short films for the company, Gibson became one of its leading actresses. She decided to take a vacation with her mother in March 1912 after the shooting finished for The Easter Bonnet.
During her holiday in Italy, Gibson was asked by the studio to come back to work. She and her mother decided to take the Titanic for their return to the United States. On April 10, 1912, they boarded the massive, luxurious ocean liner for its maiden voyage. Other first-class passengers included John Jacob Astor and his young bride Madeleine, Benjamin Guggenheim, Charles Melville Hays, and Major Archibald Butt.
Four days later, the Titanic struck an iceberg around 11:40 p.m. The impact had caused damage to the vessel, which began taking on water. With the ship starting to sink, Gibson and her mother boarded Lifeboat 7. The evacuation efforts were somewhat confused. With about 28 people onboard, the lifeboat was less than half full when it was lowered to the water. Other lifeboats also were lowered without being full, which only added to the tragedy. At the start, the ship did not have enough lifeboats to save all of its passengers and crew.
Gibson and the others on the lifeboat watched as the Titanic finally descended into the Atlantic after 2 a.m. the next morning. They were later picked by the Carpathia, which took all 705 survivors of the disaster to New York. Gibson and her mother were quite fortunate as more than 1,500 people lost their lives in the sinking of the Titanic.
Shortly after her return to the United States, Gibson starred in Eclair??s Saved From the Titanic, which retold her personal account of the disaster. She even wore the same clothes and shoes that she had on during the event. While the film proved to be very popular, Gibson??s career faded soon after. In 1917, she married Jules E. Brulatour, a film financier. But the union was short lived. They divorced in 1919, and Gibson spent the rest of her life in Europe.
Gibson died on February 20, 1946, in a hotel room in Paris.
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