Dorothy at Home, and Others at Large – By W. Adolphe Roberts (Motion Picture Magazine – June, 1925)

Motion Picture Magazine – June, 1925

Confidences Off-Screen

By W. Adolphe Roberts

Dorothy at Home, and Others at Large

My ideal for these interviews is to make the fans feel they’ve seen the person I saw. I’m out to be a realist, in drawing brief pen-portraits, in trying” for a sense of the atmosphere inseparable from each star. The fact that my subjects are extremely romantic does not debar realism in describing them. Oh, far from it! There are difficulties, nevertheless.

Dorothy Gish Postcard SD

“When I start to write about Dorothy Gish and my visit to her, I feel impatient with the words I have to use, because words don’t seem to be gay and vivid enough to picture her charming personality. I’d like to find colored words.

William Powell and Dorothy Gish Romola
William Powell and Dorothy Gish Romola

She lives in a studio apartment, a block away from Gramercy Park, New York. It is furnished in Italian Renaissance, with lovely antique cabinets, high-backed chairs and “a long refectory table—all in dark, carved woods. One is reminded instantly of Romola. But Dorothy, standing by the fireplace and smiling her greeting, is not at all the black-haired peasant girl, Tessa, of the picture she made with Lillian in Italy last year.

Dorothy Gish (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Dorothy Gish (Photo by © CORBIS)

Off-screen, Dorothy Gish is a blonde of the blondes. She has wonderful, big gray eyes, golden hair shading to red, a cream-colored skin. Her delicate hands were never made to choke ferocious villains in melodramas, nor do they attempt the role. Her manner is all vivacity. Heaps of things interest her, and she comments on them in sally after witty sally. But her voice warms to a rich ardor when it is a question of something that both touches her emotionally and earns her respect.

She cares infinitely for her own art of motion pictures. Every critic of importance agrees that D. W. Griffith’s “Isn’t Life Wonderful” is a notable creation. I look upon it myself as one of the greatest ever filmed. But there was a special thrill in hearing Dorothy say earnestly:

“I cried with joy at its fineness. Only Mr. Griffith could have made it. Beauty is first with him.”

Dorothy Gish cca 1930 - by Nell Dorr
Nell Dorr (1893-1988); Dorothy Gish; ca. 1930’s; Gelatin silver print; Amon Carter Museum of American Art; Fort Worth, Texas; Bequest of Nell Dorr; P1990.45.239

After motion pictures, I gathered that books and etchings were twin passions with her. She admires the novels of Joseph Hergesheimer, and calls him the best stylist in America. The work of half a dozen artists was mentioned with enthusiasm. Tea was brought in. The conversation strayed to many new topics. But I’m going to resist the temptation of quoting her. She has a way of saying brilliant, unconventional things about the venerable totems of society which, in her opinion, would not look well in print. I promised her to keep my note-book to myself, and a promise is a promise. However, I can reveal that the most miserable hour in Dorothy Gish’s life was when she smoked a cigar in The Bright Shawl. The part demanded it, and she made good at the price of a prolonged spell of tobacco-nausea. The confidence came out when I noticed that she handed me a cigarette without taking one herself. She has no prejudice against the habit but simply has never been able to learn to like cigarettes. An enforced cigar, which few smoking women could stand, was consequently for her a doubly terrible experience.

Motion Picture Magazine - June, 1925 - Dorothy at Home
Motion Picture Magazine – June, 1925 – Dorothy at Home

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