: I never approved of talkies. Silent movies were well on their way to developing an entirely new art form. It was not just pantomine, but something wonderfully expressive.
Lillian Diana Gish was a pioneering actress of the screen and stage, and a director and writer. Her film acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912, in silent film shorts, to 1987. Gish was called "The First Lady of American Cinema", and is credited with pioneering fundamental film performance techniques.
Gish was a prominent film star from 1912 into the 1920s, being particularly associated with the films of director D. W. Griffith, including her leading role in the highest-grossing film of the silent era, Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915).
At the dawn of the sound era, she returned to the stage and appeared in film infrequently, including well-known roles in the controversial western Duel in the Sun and the offbeat thriller The Night of the Hunter.
She also did considerable television work from the early 1950s into the 1980s, and closed her career playing opposite Bette Davis in the 1987 film The Whales of August.
During her later years Gish became a dedicated advocate for the appreciation and preservation of silent film. Despite being better known for her film work, she was also an accomplished stage actress, and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1972.