‘Miss Lillian’ – IRVING L. JAFFE (The New York Times – May 4, 1969)

‘Miss Lillian’

IRVING L. JAFFE

The New York Times – May 4, 1969

On a recent Thursday, a small miracle occurred at Columbia University. While students were protesting in Philosophy Hall a quiet, fragile woman, Lillian Gish, delivered a wonderful program about her life in the movies during the D.W. Griffith era. Her running commentary accompanied a showing of many of the early films in which she starred, as well as some others.

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The McMillin Theater was crowded to capacity with movie buffs from all over. Miss Gish stood during the entire two hours of her talk, reading from a lectern, and interspersing a most informative lecture with humorous asides and stories about the early movie “greats” that delighted the audience. The audience itself was an autograph hunter’s dream. To mention a few, Katharine Hepburn (fresh from an Oscar award), Lauren Bacall Ilka Chase, Truman Capote, Robert Whitehead, Myrna Loy, Brooks Atkinson, and many, many more.

But it was all “Miss Lillian’s” show that night; the audience gave her a standing ovation, and, after the show, autographing her new book, she was surrounded by admirers. It must have been a great strain that evening, but Miss Gish never let down. She was gracious to everyone and a look, flashed from her wonderfully large expressive eyes, made one realize the magnetism that had won her such great audiences over the years. If she ever was “My Lillian” to Mr. Griffith in the past, she certainly became “Our Lillian” the other night in New York.

IRVING L. JAFFE – New York City

miss lillian gish in her new york apartment, photographed in 1972 by allan warren b

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