Gloria Stuart passed away recently. She was 100… born on the Fourth of July in the year our nation celebrated the 134th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. She was a beautiful actress during the early years of ‘talkies,’ and a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild. Then Gloria quit making films to raise a family. Fifty years later she reappeared, playing the aging role of Kate Winslet’s character Rose in Titanic, and became the oldest person to be nominated for an Academy Award.
“When I graduated from Santa Monica High in 1927, I was voted the girl most likely to succeed,” she said. “I didn’t realize it would take so long.”
Stuart touched movie watchers when Rose tossed the ‘Star of the Sea’ sapphire into the ocean at the end of the film. It was a symbolic gesture that served as an exclamation point and soft landing following the intense drama surrounding the depiction of the sinking of the unsinkable ship.
She also should serve as motivation for everyone who wakes up in the morning tired and weary from daunting challenges. After all, if Gloria Stuart – who appeared in films with Boris Karloff, Charles Laughton and a seven-year-old Shirley Temple… all before 1936 – can deliver a wonderful performance as she approached 90, shouldn’t all of us be able to make it through the next day with a little more energy in our step?