Gloria Stuart fans upset that she was underused by Hollywood needed only to bide their time. For about five decades.
Stuart, the 1930s star, who achieved her greatest fame as the elder version of Kate Winslets Rose in Titanic, died Sunday. She had marked her 100th birthday on the Fourth of July.
"I would say I don't notice the difference between 100 and, say, 90," a frisky-sounding Stuart said this past summer. "You're still frail, feeble and full of you-know-what."
Career-wise, Stuart hit her peek at 87. As Old Rose, Titanic's signature survivor and storyteller, she rated an Oscar nomination, becoming the oldest acting nominee ever.
"Gloria Stuart was a force both on and off screen," costar Leonardo DiCaprio said in a statement. "An amazingly sweet person, a fantastic actress, and someone who always fought for what she believed in. She was one of the last great actresses from the Golden era of Hollywood. I was honored to have worked along side her. She will be missed."
Success, however, was not new to Stuart. The honey-blonde actress scored top-billing in 1933's The Invisible Man, and starred in dozens of movies that same decade.
But by the 1940s, Stuart's run appeared done—she was, after all, already in her 30s!—and at least one Hollywood columnist asked why she wasn't used more.
The years, or lack of roles, did not diminish Stuart's drive. By the time Titanic came along in 1997, Stuart was determined to impress director James Cameron, who wanted to know if she'd audition for the centenarian role sans makeup.
Declared Stuart: "I'll read for him without clothes!"