Dorothy Winifred Gibson (May 17th, 1889 – February 17th, 1946) was a pioneering American silent film actress, artist's model and singer active in the early 20th century. She is best remembered as a survivor of the sinking of the Titanic and for starring in the first motion picture based on the disaster.
After a six-week vacation in Italy with her mother, Gibson was returning on the Titanic to make a new series of pictures for Eclair at Fort Lee. The women had been playing bridge with friends in the lounge on the night of the ship's fatal collision with the iceberg. With two of their game partners (including William Thompson Sloper) they escaped in Lifeboat 7, the first lifeboat launched after she had a fight with one of the crew members and was lifted onto the boat against her will.
After arriving in New York on the rescue ship Carpathia, Dorothy was persuaded by her manager to appear in a film based on the sinking. She not only starred in the one-reel drama but also wrote the scenario. She even appeared in the same clothing she had worn aboard the Titanic that night—a white silk evening dress topped with a cardigan and polo coat.
In Popular Culture[edit | edit source]
Dorothy Gibson was portrayed in Saved from the Titanic by herself.
Oh, i doubt it, why should folks like you cares about my crazy job
—Dorothy Gibson to Captain Smith, Lord & Lady Manton, and Georgiana Grex
She first appeared before dinner, was greeted by Captain Smith and introduced herself and her mother, Pauline Caroline Gibson to Lord and Lady Manton, and Georgiana Grex. After dinner, she danced with young Jack Thayer, before Jack was picked up by her mother, Marian Thayer, to go to sleep, leaving Dorothy alone. 2nd Officer Charles Lightoller asked to dance with her. Dorothy was impressed and chatted a little with Lightoller.
On the night of April 14, Dorothy and Pauline were among those invited to a party organized by Eleanor Widener in honor of Captain Smith in the Gatti's Restaurant, Dorothy was seen talking with Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and Madeleine Astor. After the party, Dorothy played bridge game with Thomas Andrews and John Jacob Astor, the three of them felt the tremble caused by the impact of the iceberg. Thomas Andrews just told her that nothing happened.
When the evacuation process had begun, Dorothy's mother, Pauline, became hysterical and refused to wear a life jacket and even insisted on staying on the ship.
Dorothy : Mother, please!
Pauline : I can't! I just can't! That's all to risk to, i'm staying right here!
Lightoller : Can i help? Can i help?
Dorothy : Yes! My mother won't wear a life vest!
Pauline : And i won't get on a boat!
Lightoller : Mrs. Gibson, you want to helps Dorothy, don't you? She won't leave without you so, if you want her to be safe, you must be safe
Pauline : Yes
Dorothy : Thank you, Mr. Lightoller
Until finally 2nd Officer Lightoller came to calm Pauline down and put the life jacket on her, Lightoller also gave Dorothy a bottle of brandy for people who needed her later. Dorothy agreed and hurried to the boat deck with her mother. They saw Lifeboat 6 being loaded, they immediately rushed into it, accidentally nudging Lady Manton. Lady Manton looked at Dorothy in disgust because she carrying a brandy, mocked her by saying: "I will not sit in boat with a drunken prostitute!". Dorothy and her mother just stared at him in confusion. After the Titanic sank, Dorothy and her mother along with many other occupants of Lifeboat 6 were transferred to Emergency Lifeboat 2 by 5th Officer Lowe because Lowe was going to use his school to return to pick up the survivors in the water.
Lady Manton : Is there any thing we can do to warm him?
Dorothy : W-wwait, i have brandy! Look, hang on!... here, come on, just what i brought it for
Lady Manton : Thank God... I'm so, sorry, my dear
And when Lowe came back, he brought three men, including Lord Manton. Lady Manton wondered if there was any way to warm her husband, Dorothy remembered that he had brandy and immediately led him to Lord Manton. Lady Manton apologized to him for making fun of him earlier. Dorothy forgave Lady Manton and together they waited for RMS Carpathia to arrive.