“Forgotten Hollywood”- Goodbye to Gish…

Posted on May 28, 2019 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

“`The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Theatre opened within Bowling Green State University, Ohio, on June 11, 1976. It was shut down on May 3rd. The Black Students Union complained that because Lillian Gish was a star of D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation,  the use of her name in a university facility contributed to an intimidating, hostile educational environment.

“`Lillian Gish was very much a part of Ohio history. She was born in Springfield and made her stage debut as a child at the Rising Sun Opera House, twenty miles from Bowling Green. It was Lillian who insisted the theatre also honor her sister and fellow Ohio native, Dorothy, who co-starred with her in two D. W. Griffith features, Hearts of the World and Orphans of the Storm.


“`The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Theatre was originally designated at the University’s Hanna Hall.  When scheduled for demolition in 2018, the theatre disappeared, except for the building signage and a small exhibit that were moved to a classroom in the Student Union.  The forces of outrage began to gather. I applaud the notion if not the eventual decision, which was made at the expense of a person that is a victim of her era.

“`It mattered not that Gish had neither directed nor written The Birth of a Nation. Lillian’s performances in Griffith films, such as Intolerance or Broken Blossoms, with their strong liberal leanings, were irrelevant. Her career as one of the greatest silent screen stars, whose later performances continue to be highly regarded, counts for zero.

“`Bowling Green University also had theaters named after two celebrities. The Eva Marie Saint Theatre, honoring one of the University’s most famous alumnae, was downsized a few years back. The Joe E. Brown Theatre was named after the Ohio native, who starred in the production of Harvey at Bowling Green in 1959; it closed in December 2011, and is currently used for storage.

“`For now, Lillian Gish, an iconic actress of the twentieth century, is persona non grata in her hometown, an unfortunate notion.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 28th, 2019 at 5:30 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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