Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Titanic Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

It's been nearly 110 years since the RMS Titanic began its fateful maiden voyage across the icy North Atlantic. And it's been almost 25 since James Cameron immortalized that tragically shortened journey in his Best Picture-winning historical epic "Titanic." That film became a cultural landmark upon release, setting the box office ablaze to the tune of almost $2 billion, reports Box Office Mojo, and even scoring a massive pop hit in Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On."

"Titanic" also made overnight superstars of then up-and-comers Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, who portray the film's star-crossed lovers, Jack and Rose. There was a handful of other impressive names in the film as well, with the likes of Bill Paxton, Kathy Bates, Billy Zane, and Frances Fisher all delivering memorable work alongside their young co-stars. Sadly, not all of those "Titanic" cast members are still with us today. Here are a few "Titanic" actors you may not realize have passed away.

Gloria Stuart (1910 - 2010)

Like her "Titanic" character, Gloria Stuart lived a long life full of adventure. At the time of her death in 2010, the actor was 100 years old, and had appeared in more than 80 film and television projects dating back to the Golden Age of Hollywood. She'd also rubbed elbows with the likes of Groucho Marx, Charlie Chaplin, Dorothy Parker, and Humphrey Bogart. Among her credits from the era are absolute classics like 1932's "The Old Dark House," 1933's "The Invisible Man," 1936's "Poor Little Rich Girl," and 1939's "The Three Musketeers."

Prior to her role in 1997's "Titanic," however, it had been quite a while since Stuart had appeared in such a high-profile project, or any project at all for that matter. In fact, at the time of her casting, Stuart had all but left her acting days behind, and reportedly didn't even have an agent (per Los Angeles Times). The seasoned actor did not disappoint upon her triumphant return to Hollywood, however, delivering a show-stopping performance as the elderly Rose that essentially eclipsed the work of the entire cast. And though she didn't take home the statue on Oscar night, Stuart was rightfully rewarded for her work with her first and only Academy Award nomination.    

Bernard Fox (1927 - 2016)

While much of the central cast of "Titanic" were tasked with portraying fictional characters whose names didn't appear on the ship's official manifest, many had the far more difficult task of bringing to the screen real-life passengers who endured real-life horrors as the ship sank. The Welsh-born thespian (and lauded star of dozens of film and television projects) Bernard Fox was of the latter group, portraying the late-great Colonel Archibald Gracie IV in "Titanic," and doing so with a low-key aristocratic air befitting the man's legacy.

If you're not familiar with that legacy, Gracie was a writer and amateur historian whose great-great grandfather actually built New York's Gracie Mansion, which now serves as the Mayor's official residence. In "Titanic," Gracie is first seen in the moments just after Jack talks Rose back from the brink of suicide, complementing the lad for having saved her life. In real life, Gracie was a Titanic survivor who wrote a book about the tragedy, publishing "The Truth About the Titanic" in 1913. That book (now published under the title "Titanic: A Survivor's Story") is still regarded among the most vital accounts of the ship's sinking. Unfortunately, Gracie didn't live to see it published, with the scribe passing away mere months after his Titanic fright. As for Fox, the beloved actor lived a full decade beyond his "Titanic" role, with the blockbuster serving as one of his final screen appearances.

Elsa Raven (1929 - 2020)

Elsa Raven was perhaps best known to the cinematic masses as the over-eager fundraiser desperate to "save the clock tower!" in 1985's "Back to the Future." But prior to that noteworthy appearance, the veteran character actor had already brought her unique sensibilities to dozens of other film and television projects, including the 1979 classic "The Amityville Horror." She continued to do so after that as well, with her glorious performance as Ida Strauss in "Titanic" ranking among her best. 

If you're having trouble placing Raven's face in the film, she was the steadfast woman who refused a seat in one of the sinking ship's lifeboats rather than leave her husband Isidor (Lew Palter) to a lonely, watery death. In honoring her wedding pledge, as she so passionately states, the small but memorable role adds a stunning level of gravitas to the distinctly human stakes involved in the ship's demise. And in sticking it out with her hubby, she earns one of the film's more dignified exits, with the pair last seen huddling lovingly in their bed as the icy water consumes them.  

Bill Paxton (1955 - 2017)

By the time of his tragic, and most unexpected, death in 2017, Bill Paxton had become one of the most recognizable and well-liked personalities in showbiz, having fronted dozens of beloved movies such as Kathryn Bigelow's vampire thriller "Near Dark," the '80s sci-fi comedy classic "Weird Science," the '90s blockbuster "Twister," and recent classics including "Edge of Tomorrow" and "Nightcrawler." He'd also appeared in several of James Cameron's films, of course, dating all the way back to the director's landmark 1984 film "The Terminator."

"Titanic" found Paxton more or less serving as Cameron's on-screen counterpart, portraying the Titanic-obsessed head of a well-funded underwater research crew with a savvy blend of blustery technical intellectualism and neo-pirate swagger. As fans of the film recall, "Titanic" is essentially bookended by Paxton and his crew meeting up with Gloria Stuart's older version of Rose and listening to her amorous tale of true love interrupted by unforeseeable tragedy. And even in those abbreviated moments, Paxton managed to temper his character's cocksure smarm with a warmth and tenderness few actors have ever been able to betray. That was just par for the course for Paxton, however, whose singular big-screen presence will forever be missed.