At the time of her death in 1993, Lillian Gish was universally recognized as a film legend. In this revealing and absorbing narrative, Charles Affron uses newly released documents to uncover a life that was cast in the shadow of self-generated myth. Filling the gaps left by Gish's selective memoirs and authorized biographies, he shows how the actress carefully shaped her public identity while keeping much of her life private.
A New York Times Notable Book
Charles Affron is Professor of French at New York University. He is the author of Sets in Motion, Cinema and Sentiment, Divine Garbo, and Star Acting: Gish, Garbo, Davis. He lives in New York City.
“This expertly researched and definitive portrait reveals an artist who remained lucid and passionate about her art to the very end of her life. (Gish died in 1993 at the age of 99.) The author does a wonderful job of gently but firmly correcting the ‘mistakes’ and omissions Miss Gish made in the several retellings of her life and career. Even readers who have never seen her films will get a sense of her ability to convey interior emotion and her luminous quality as an actress.”—Library Journal
"As someone who worked with and knew Lillian Gish for years, I found Charles Affron’s portrait revealing and moving. He rekindles the life of this intuitive and generous artist beautifully."—Eva Marie Saint