Hailed as the first Lady of American cinema, Lillian Gish became a pioneering figure in the silent film era thanks to an enduring partnership with director D.W. Griffith which spawned "The Birth of a Nation" (1915), "Intolerance" (1916) and "Way Down East" (1920). Born in Springfield, OH, Lillian Gish first began performing on stage alongside her mother Mary and sister Dorothy in her pre-teens, and also appeared alongside the latter in her screen debut, the short film "An Unseen Enemy" (1912). Gish went on to work with its director. D.W. Griffith, in countless silent movies throughout the rest of the decade, including his first full-length feature "Judith of Bethulia" (1914), the seminal but hugely controversial Civil War epic "The Birth of a Nation" (1915) and popular melodrama "Way Down East" (1920). Gish suffered permanent nerve damage in her fingers while filming the latter and also refused to eat or drink for three days to prepare for her death scene in "La Boheme" (1926). It was this dedication to her craft, alongside her wonderfully expressive performances, which established Gish as one of the most revered actresses of the silent film era. Gish also directed her sister in "Remodeling Her Husband" (1920) and took full creative control of several MGM pictures including one of her all-time favorites, "The Wind" (1928), having insisted that the studio's million-dollar offer to procure her talents instead be used to attract the best possible behind the scenes team. Gish eventually made the move into talkies playing Princess Alexandra in "One Romantic Night" (1930), although she remained a keen advocate of silent films throughout her career, regularly giving speeches on the subject and later hosting TV special "The Silent Years" (PBS, 1975). Gish proved she could adapt when she was nominated for an Oscar for her turn as the ill-fated Laura Belle McCanles in Western epic "Duel in the Sun" (1946). She later starred in fantasy classic "Portrait of Jennie" (1948), earned critical acclaim for her performance in "The Trip to Bountiful" (NBC, 1953) and starred opposite Robert Mitchum in thriller "Night of the Hunter" (1955). She also became a regular of the TV anthology, guesting on the likes of "The Campbell Playhouse" (NBC, 1952-54) and "The Alcoa Hour" (NBC, 1955-57). In the following decade she portrayed Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in short-lived Broadway production "Anya," picked up a Golden Globe nod for her turn as Mrs. Smith in political drama "The Comedians" (1967) and appeared in the last ever film produced by Walt Disney, "Follow Me, Boys!" (1966). Gish won a string of lifetime achievement awards in the 1970s but continued to work well into the 1980s, guesting on "The Love Boat" (ABC, 1977-1986), playing Alan Alda's mother in comedy "Sweet Liberty" (1986) and receiving a ten-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival for her co-starring performance alongside Better Davis in "The Whales of August" (1987). Gish passed away from heart failure in 1993 at the age of 99.