Dorothy Gibson

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Glenda Bowling

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Someonw wrote that the movie star Dorothy Gibson died on Feburary 20, 1946 but her biography here says she died on Febuary 17. Which one is right?
 

Jeffrey

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Jun 18, 2009
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Not sure, then. I read that her death date was 20 February 1946 in Judith B. Geller's 'Titanic: Women and Children First', but some notable historians have had some disagreements with some dates that Mrs Geller presents. If Dorothy has a death certificate, check out and see what that date says. Let me go and see for self.
 
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Glenda Bowling

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I think Febuary 20 is correct because I found it in another book today.
 

Mike Herbold

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Feb 13, 2001
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I found an article in the June 1991 Voyage (#8) by John Eaton that uses the February 20th date. The article makes the point that she always used her married name Dorothy Brulator, so the death certificate would be in that name.
 
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Jose C. Rivera de Cosme

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Doing research on Dorothy Gibson. I have read somewhere that she was a model for the illustrator Harrison Fisher. In the book Woman and Children First, it is stated that the picture on the page (p.56) is of Dorothy Gibson By Fisher. Is this true?
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Remembering Dorothy Gibson on the anniversary of her death by heart attack, Paris, 1946.
Her filmography:
1912 Saved from the Titanic( audio on CD amazon.com)
1912 Revenge of the silk masks
1912 The Easter Bonnet
1912 A Lucky Hold-up
1912 Brooms and Dustpans
1912 A Living Memory
1912 It Pays to be Kind
1912 The Awakening
1912 Love Finds a Way
1911 The Musician's Daughter
1911 Miss Masquerader
1911 Hands Across the Sea

Her spouse from 1917-1919 was Jules Brulatour, Eclair studio financier whose former wife was killed in a fatal car crash. He was about to divorce her to marry Dorothy-which he did do. I gather there was some speculation about that car crash... interesting tidbit. Dorothy certainly made the most of her fame in 1912.
 

Phillip Gowan

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Apr 10, 2001
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Hi Shelley,
Actually, Dorothy died on the 17th of February. Her obituary that appeared in the New York Times on February 20th stated that she "died today" and for years everyone assumed that meant the 20th. But the obituary that appeared in the NY Times had been copied from Paris newspapers of February 17th which used the word "today." Hence the enduring error concerning the actual date of her death.

Regards,
Phillip
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Well Phil, that's one mystery explained! All of the theatre and movie databases have it incorrect then! Am sure Dorothy wouldn't mind being remembered 3 days late... you know how movie stars are! What is your view of that 1913 auto "accident" involving Jules' first wife? Do we know why Dorothy left him in 1919? Or for that matter- what happened to a flourishing career?
 

Phillip Gowan

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Apr 10, 2001
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Shelley, I have a document (actually an affidavit) written by Dorothy herself stating that she decided to leave the US and establish a permanent residence in Paris after her divorce because her husband left her for another woman. She states further that since she and Jules shared almost all the same circle of friends, she was constantly reminded of the circumstances of her divorce while living in New York and decided to leave all the reminders behind. Apparently she really loved Brulatour and used that surname the rest of her life. It is curious that she expected fidelity from him when you consider the circumstances under which her romance with him blossomed. I've found nothing that is not commonly known relating to the earlier auto accident but it was certainly hush hush. I've tried without success to get a copy of the lawsuit that Dorothy's step-father filed against Brulatour a few years later--would be very interesting to see the affidavits it holds--but New York has a 100 year gag rule on those lawsuits and divorces--so I probably won't live long enough to get a copy!
 
May 12, 2005
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Shell,

Where did you get the fimography? Is that on one of the online data-bases? I'm curious about her post-1912 films. I have found an item referring to a mishap on the set of an unidentified film in 1916 and a mention of a projected movie, to be shot in Paris in 1925.

Randy
 
Apr 11, 2001
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What a cad , that Jules! Poor little Dorothy. I think the bum was enamoured of her celebrity after the sinking and decided to be a part of her 15 minutes of fame- then when her career paled, he went on to the next flavor of the month. The BEAST. Am not so sure something "fishy" transpired with Mrs. Jules #1. Film execs are a slimy bunch.
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Gee, I thought what happened was that Jules and Dorothy were having the affair prior to Titanic and the wife finally found out when Dot ran over and killed someone with Jules' car?
 

Phillip Gowan

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Apr 10, 2001
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I'll post the obituary of wife number 1--her name was Clara Brulatour--but will have to find it among the "stuff." It appeared in the New York Times.

What Dorothy and her mommy got involved with later makes the Brulatour years following Titanic seem quite tame. More later :).

Also, Jules Brulatour's son, C. Jules Brulatour took his wife on a vacation to Jamaica. They found Mr. Brulatour dead in bed in his hotel room of "natural causes." Incidentally, his wife was dead in bed beside him--also of "natural causes."

Interesting family.

Phil
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Phil- waiting with bated breath for the obit! Now I am confused. Have been trying to piece facts of Dorothy's life and loves together from conflicting accounts. One source says she and Jules were an item after she made EASTER BONNET in 1911, he divorced Clara down in Kentucky, married Dorothy, and then was sued by wife #1 saying the divorce was not legal- & demanded more alimony. When Dorothy left in 1919, she settled for only 10,000 per year instead of the originally demanded 48,000 plus lawyer fees because she feared an annulment based on the illegal Kentucky divorce would occur. So how does the fishy car accident fit in all of this? Then I read Jules married Hope Hampton who managed to hold on to Dishy Jules until he died in 1946. What's the scoop? Odd they both died in the same year. Had not realized Jules was so rich or that Eclair was eventually sucked up by Universal and was located in Fort Lee, New Jersey- seconds from Manhattan. Now the story makes sense. I pulled out some old vintage Harrison Fisher prints- and yep- there's our Dorothy! Fascinating stuff. My reference for this last posting comes from info researched by John Eaton and published in VOYAGE 8 & 9. Amazon .com has an AUDIO CD of Saved From the Titanic -the nitrate-based film is gone of course. The 4 stills from the film are in the Library of Congress and are reproduced in VOYAGE 8- pretty corny by today's standards but hot stuff in 1912 I guess.
 

Phillip Gowan

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Apr 10, 2001
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Hi Shelley,
I'm in a meeting for a couple of days in Charleston and will get Clara's obit posted when I get back home.

Dorothy's husband Jules E. Brulatour was the father of C. Jules Brulatour and it was the latter who took his wife to Jamaica on vacation and both died of "natural causes" in their hotel room the same night. I have that obituary as well. The Brulatours came from New Orleans and obviously prospered in their business endeavours but obviously it was a different story with their personal lives. Hope did manage to hold on to Jules until he died though he is said to have had frequent dalliances.

More later,
Phillip
 
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The Dorothy Gibson doll portrayed above with the exquisite clothing and attention to details is created by Alice Leverett-please visit that site above, then click on the HOME link to see her story, other vintage dolls and articles - These dolls go in the 800-900 dollar range. Dorothy is FABULOUS! Now if she would consider doing Rita Jolivet! Barbie-take a back seat!
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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For a good account of Saved From The Titanic, try to find a copy of Lost Films: Important Movies That Disappeared, by Frank Thompson. No stills, but a detailed synosis, some reviews and a lot of historical background. From time to time Eclair films of that vintage come up for sale in The Big Reel and other collector magazines, and I keep hoping at some point to find a copy of Saved From The Titanic. A lot of times "lost" films are being held by people who don't know that what they have is either "lost" or desirable, so there is a slender outside chance that maybe, possibly one has survived. Probably not, but that is one of the things which keeps an obsessive collector such as myself going. Of course, there is the harsh double reality of Nitrate film AND the fact that Titanic has been collectable since about 1955, but who knows?
PS- SHELLEY- After Rita Jolivet, how about Mrs Faber?
 
May 12, 2005
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Jim,

I'm with you on the hope that "Saved from the Titanic" will turn up but I would settle for one of the other dozen or so films she made.

It's difficult to assess Dorothy's appeal without studying her work so I'd be thrilled to be able to see her in any of the movies she made just to find out what sort of screen persona she had. From the few reviews I've read - one especially for "The Masqueraders" in "Billboard" magazine - it would appear that, despite her youth, she wasn't relegated to playing the ingenue. I tend to think she might have excelled at playing the modern, sports-loving, career girl.

Of course, since Dorothy retired after the hit she made out of "Saved," it is entirely possible that audiences didn't have time to acquaint themselves thoroughly enough with her talent and personality for her to have registered any identifiable presence.

I suspect that she was a very versatile and capable actress who, had she persevered in her work, might have become one of the top stars of the silent period.

As it is, her popularity was so brief she's now an enigma and until some of her films turn up we won't be able to evaluate what impact her fleeting image may have had on audiences of her day.

Randy
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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RANDY- I would be willing to bet that at least ONE of her films has survived. A surprising number of films by stars whose entire catalogues were supposedly lost (like Mary Miles Minter, of homicidal mother fame) surfaced during the 1980s, but the thing is, being that Dorothy Gibson is TOTALLY unknown outside of Titanic circles, the discovery of one of her works would not rate a mention in the trade press UNLESS the person who found the film was a Titanic buff. A good idea MIGHT be to raise awareness of Dorothy by running a (frankly) exploitative article about her Titanic connection in one of the silent film collector magazines, so that people who ordinarily wouldn't know about her would seek her out......as happened with Minter after the publication of A Cast Of Killers. Of course, then you would have to deal with the torment I know so well of dealing with "eccentric" collectors who let you know that they have the film, prove it to you by allowing you to read the title card through a loop, and then don't let you watch "their treasure." A curse upon them.......