Photo Session 1935 – 1938

“She does not do violence to herself by making herself over into the part she presents. She studies the environment, the period, the hundred contributing details of the situation, then lives her part in the play as she might have lived it in reality. She takes on the psychology of it—what she conceives to be such—and in some subtle fashion, fuses it with her own. Always, it is Lillian who is playing, and always you want it to be Lillian, just as all those people she hasplayed — Hester Prynne, Mimi, the White Sister, poor little Lucy Burrows, and Helena — would wish to be Lillian, if they could see her in their parts. And the nearer they could be like her, the better White Sister and Hester Prynne and Helena and the rest, they would make. I am not saying that hers is the best dramatic method — my equipment does not warrant that positive statement — I am only saying that the effect she gives us is not of acting, but of life itself. (Life and Lillian Gish – Albert Bigelow Paine)

Lillian Gish

“The little things of life simply don’t worry her at all. Gales of temperament can rage around her – she remains undisturbed. I have seen her at a time when anyone else would have been distraught with anxiety, come quietly in from the set, eat her luncheon calmly and collectedly, then pick up some little book of philosophy and read it steadily until they sent for her.” – Phillis Moir (secretary to Lillian, 1925 – 27) –


Darkness gathering in a lonely hotel room – a little figure crouching at the window, staring into the night. – What are you lookin at dear? – Nothing aunt Alice, just looking. Always her reply would be the same – always the same heart-hunger behind it. A dozen, twenty years later, a slender, white figure on a window seat, staring into the depths of the California night. – What are you looking at, Lillian? (her mother asks). – Nothing mother, just looking.” – Life and Lillian Gish – Albert Bigelow Paine, NY 1932

Portraits ; circa 1935 ;

Credit : John Vickers / University of Bristol

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