An Actor’s Life for Me!

An Actor’s Life for Me!

  • as told to Selma G. Lanes
    Illustrations by Patricia Henderson Lincoln

In vivid anecdotes that are funny, heartbreaking and remarkably evocative of that fascinating period, stage and screen star Lillian Gish tells the story of her childhood years in the American theater at the beginning of the 1900s.

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Good Little Devil – Morganie

From the perspective of nearly a century Miss Gish recalls the kindness of her fellow actors during a Christmas spent on train; hilarious-and sometimes frightening-slipups from many performances; the pain of separation from her mother and her younger sister; and the thrill of being a professional actor.

For every child who has ever wondered about the glamour and excitement of being on the stage, about how and why a person becomes an actor, this remarkable childhood reminiscence offers a unique and lively insight, as well a memorable piece of Americana.

illustrations - an actors life for me

“My sister Dorothy and I were lucky. We never lived in just one place or went to school like other children we knew. We were child actors. We belonged to traveling theatrical companies that performed plays in small towns and big cities. While most children our age were sleeping soundly in their beds at home, we were jouncing along on milk trains in the small hours of the morning, moving on to some distant city.”

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“One morning I woke up and I realized that here we were – all together at last. We had the house I had dreamed about years before as a small traveling player. We were warm. We could afford good foods, lots of books, and nice clothes. Mother didn’t had to worry one bit about money anymore. Everything we had wanted as children now was ours. It was like a fairy tale: “And they lived happily ever after.” We wondered if we would.”    (Miss Lillian Gish) (An Actor’s Life for Me! – As Told to Selma G. Lanes – Lillian Gish)

lillian gish cca 10 years old

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A selection made from few of Miss Lillian Gish’s silent films

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A selection made from few of Miss Lillian Gish’s silent films