Gloria Stuart is an American actress and artist best known to modern audiences for her role as the 100-year-old Rose Dawson Calvert in the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic, for which - at age 87 - she received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
To this day, she remains the oldest actress ever to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Born Gloria Frances Stewart in Santa Monica, California, she changed the spelling of her name when she commenced her acting career because "Stuart" fit better on a theatre marquee.
After acting in college and in other amateur productions, Stuart was discovered at the Pasadena Playhouse and signed to a contract by Universal Studios in 1932. She was also selected as one of the thirteen WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1932.
As a glamorous blonde, she was quickly cast in a variety of films and became a favourite of director James Whale, appearing in his films The Old Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1933) and The Kiss Before the Mirror (1933).
Her career with Universal Studios failed to gain momentum, and she moved to 20th Century Fox. By the end of the decade, she had starred in more than forty films, including Roman Scandals (1933) and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938) but had not become a major star.
In 1934, she married the screenwriter, Arthur Sheekman, writer of many of the Marx Brothers movies and Groucho's closest friend. In 1935, their daughter, Sylvia, was born.
In 1939, Stuart and Sheekman took a trip around the world, and, when they returned to California at the outbreak of the war, Stuart worked for the war effort, became a famous hostess at the legendary Garden of Allah, and made a few more films, but her career was fizzling.
She turned her energies to a decorating shop, Décor, Ltd, where she sold the découpage furniture she created: lamps, frames, tables, globes.
In 1954, living in Rapallo on the Italian Riviera, she took up oil painting. She had her first one woman show at the prestigious Hammer Galleries in New York, and she became well respected with her work being exhibited throughout the United States and Europe.
After a 30-year break from acting, she appeared in the 1975 television movie The Legend of Lizzie Borden and over the next few years appeared regularly on television.
She made her first cinema appearance in almost 40 years when she appeared in My Favourite Year in 1982 — one of her favorite scenes in all her movies, dancing with Peter O'Toole — but she had no lines.
She also survived breast cancer around this time.
In 1984, the 74-year-old Stuart branched yet another career off her artwork. Her close friend, the California printer Ward Ritchie, taught her to print on his venerable hand press. She became a fine printer, founding a private press under the name "Imprenta Glorias."
Since then, she has created a substantial number of artists books that are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, the Library of Congress, The J. Paul Getty Museum, the Morgan Library, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and la Bibliothèque nationale de France.
In her 97th year, she is still at work every day in her studio. She has bequeathed her press and collection of rare metal type to Mills College.
In old age, Stuart achieved a level of celebrity she had never experienced during her years as a Hollywood contract player, when cast in Titanic (1997).
As the 100-year-old Rose Dawson Calvert, she received a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination as well as a Golden Globe Nomination and a Screen Actors Guild Award win. At the age of 87, this made Stuart the oldest nominee ever for a competitive acting Oscar, a record she still holds.
Although the Oscar and the Golden Globe were eventually won by Kim Basinger, Stuart tied with Basinger for the SAG Award.
Stuart found herself relatively in demand after this and was constantly employed, as much as her age and health permitted, with her most recent roles being in a Murder, She Wrote TV movie in 2001, and Wim Wenders' Land of Plenty (2004).
She is still reading scripts, hoping for another great role.