“I envy this dear, darling Dorothy with all my heart, for she is the side of me that God left out. . .”All my life I have wanted to play happily, as she does, only to find myself bad at playing. As a little girl, I was not much good at playing, and I find that, try as I will, I don’t play very convincingly today.” (Lillian Gish)
, in full Dorothy Elizabeth Gish, (born March 11, 1898, Massillon, Ohio, U.S.—died June 4, 1968, Rapallo, Italy), American actress who, like her sister Lillian, was a major figure in silent films, particularly director D.W. Griffith’s classics.
Gish grew up in New York City and made her stage debut at age four. She and Lillian formed close friendships with the actress Mary Pickford (then known as Gladys Mary Smith) during their childhood. Pickford introduced them to Griffith in 1912. Griffith immediately gave them small parts in a series of silent movies, beginning with An Unseen Enemy (1912), and placed them under contract to his studio the next year.
Dorothy, who was more vivacious than her sister, attracted a following in The Mountain Rat (1914), The Mysterious Shot (1914), and other films. Together, Dorothy and Lillian appeared in several of Griffith’s greatest films, including Home, Sweet Home (1914), The Sisters (1914), Hearts of the World (1918), and Orphans of the Storm (1921). In 1920 Dorothy appeared in Remodeling Her Husband, which was directed by Lillian.
Dorothy Gish in “Nell Gwyn”
Two years later they both left Griffith, Dorothy going to Paramount Studios and Lillian to the Tiffany Company and later to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Dorothy’s subsequent films include Romola (1924), in which Lillian also appeared; Clothes Make the Pirate (1925); and two movies made in England, Nell Gwyn (1926) and Madame Pompadour (1927).
Dorothy Gish, as pictured in “Dorothy and Lillian Gish” by Lillian Gish
Amon Carter Museum Forth Worth Texas, Dorothy Gish photographed by Nell Dorr cca 1930