This Is What Happened To Titanic Survivor Dorothy Gibson

It takes a special sort of moxie to not only survive one of the most infamous shipwrecks of all time but to star in a movie about surviving the infamous shipwreck just one month later, but that's exactly what Titanic survivor Dorothy Gibson did.

Per Encyclopedia Titanica, Gibson was born in 1889 in Hoboken, New Jersey. She started singing and dancing in Broadway shows in 1907, and in 1909 became a favorite model of illustrator Harrison Fisher, whose drawings of Gibson appeared in advertisements and on the covers of magazines for several years. Like a lot of models throughout history, Gibson used her fame to start acting in movies. After several bit parts, she was hired by the American branch of the French film production company Eclair, which according to its website was founded in 1907 (and still exists today).

Gibson became a popular actress, starring in a string of movies, including one in which she played Revolutionary War heroine Molly Pitcher. On March 7, 1912, Gibson and her mother Pauline boarded an ocean liner for Europe to take a vacation. A few weeks later, Gibson received notice asking her to return to the United States to begin work on a new series of movies. Dorothy and Pauline booked their return on a brand-new ship: the RMS Titanic. They got on board in Paris on April 10, 1912. 

Dorothy Gibson played herself in 'Saved From The Titanic'

Four days later, Gibson "spent a pleasant Sunday evening playing bridge with a couple of friendly New York bankers," as she later told the New York Dramatic Mirror, according to the Encyclopedia Titanica. Soon after she joined her mother in their stateroom at around 11:40 p.m., Gibson heard "a long drawn, sickening crunch." After venturing out to investigate and seeing " how lopsided the deck was," she went back for her mother and the two made their way to the lifeboats. Gibson later relayed to Moving Picture World: "I will never forget the terrible cry that rang out from people who were thrown into the sea and others who were afraid for their loved ones."

Barely a month later, safely back in the United States, Gibson played the role of Miss Dorothy (seen above) and is credited with co-writing the screenplay of the film Saved From The Titanic, the first movie made about the Titanic disaster. Gibson "was hesitant about reliving her ordeal so quickly after the tragedy" but did so anyway, and the movie received excellent reviews. It was her last movie; she moved into a career as an opera singer, which didn't last long. She later settled in France with her mother. During World War II, she was arrested by the Gestapo in Italy as "a resistance agitator" and sent to San Vittore Prison in Milan. She escaped from prison in 1944 and died of heart failure in 1946 at the Hotel Ritz in Paris.