Encyclopedia Titanica

Death in Paradise

Was A Night to Remember actor murdered?

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Death in Paradise

George Rose is well-known in Titanic circles for his 'spirited' portrayal of Baker Charles Joughin in A Night to Remember; in 1988 he was apparently tortured and murdered at his home in the Dominican Republic.

George Rose is well-known as the actor that portrayed Chief Baker Charles Joughin in the 1958 film adaptation of Walter Lord's A Night to Remember.  

The performance is controversial in Titanic circles in that It exaggerates the real Joughin's off-the-cuff remark that, as the Titanic sank, he fortified himself with a drink. In the film this is taken to the point of caricature although the moment provides some light relief as the tragic tale is played out.

6247. When you found your boat had gone you said you went down below. What did you do when you went down below?
- I went to my room for a drink.

6248. Drink of what?
- Spirits.

The Commissioner:
Does it very much matter what it was?

Mr. Cotter:
Yes, my Lord, this is very important, because I am going to prove, or rather my suggestion is, that he then saved his life. I think his getting a drink had a lot to do with saving his life.

The Commissioner:
He told you he had one glass of liqueur.

6249. (Mr. Cotter.) Yes. (To the Witness.) What kind of a glass was it?
- It was a tumbler half-full.

6250. A tumbler half-full of liqueur?
- Yes.

In public Rose was heavily in demand as a character actor, regularly appearing on broadway and in film; but he had a complicated private life. In 1988 he was found dead next to his overturned car near his home in the Dominican Republic. 

Was his death the result of an accident, a robbery gone wrong, or systematic torture and murder at the hands of his 17-year-old lover/adopted son and his family?  For a detailed exploration of the case see Alix Kirsta's article The Killing of Mr George.

Related Biographies

Charles John Joughin

Comment and discuss

  1. Iain Stuart Yardley said:

    I heard some time ago that George Rose, the actor who played baker Charles Joughin in ANTR, was murdered in New York. There are conflicting reports on his death. George Rose (born in 1920 as Arthur Ropes in Bicester, Oxfordshire, England), also appeared in more than twenty Broadway productions, mostly musicals, and was a two-time Tony Award winner. He died in Rio Plata, Dominican Republic, on 5th May 1988. The circumstances of his death are unclear. He was reported as having been killed in a car accident with murder "not ruled out". Then another report says he was savagely beaten to... Read full post

  2. Bob Godfrey said:

    Versons 2 and 3 are probably both true. According to articles in the Dominican press, Rose was indeed murdered. The 4 men involved included his 18-year old adopted son Domingo Vazquez, the boy's natural father and an uncle. After beating him to death they tried to conceal the evidence by faking the car accident. Vazquez and his family believed that Rose was planning to 'adopt' another boy, and were concerned that Domingo might thereby lose his right to a considerable inheritance. There is clearly much to be read between the lines in this situation.

  3. avatar

    Dave Gittins said:

    The same stories are in . 6 May 1988, 13 May 1988 and 9 June 1988. You might find these are more available.

  4. Iain Stuart Yardley said:

    Thanks for the input. I found the articles concerned and further read that Rose's body was put into a car and pushed into a ravine. What a way to go for someone who's face is so familiar to us all.

  5. avatar

    PRR5406 said:

    George Rose was the original "Dolittle", Eliza's father, in "My Fair Lady". My recollection is, he was murdered by four men in a robbery attempt, in the D.R. One of the men was his gay lover. The baker he played in ANTR always elicited sympathetic laughter when I'd show the film to my students. Physiologically, I believe alcohol is supposed to diminish hypothermia survival time by dilating the arteries and veins.

  6. Eric Paddon said:

    Rose played Alfred Dolittle in the 1976 revival of "My Fair Lady", not the original 1956 production. I saw him on-stage in his last Broadway show, "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood" just a year before he was murdered.

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2020) Death in Paradise ( ref: #138, published 5 May 2020, generated 15th October 2021 07:57:35 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/death-in-paradise.html