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Whatever Happened To The Titanic Cast?

There has long been a fascination with the Titanic, the "unsinkable" ship that plummeted to the bottom of Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912. Curiosity surrounding the event reached a particular peak in 1997 with the release of director James Cameron's film. The $200 million investment it took to make the movie paid off, as "Titanic" still is third on the list of all-time box office earners at more than $2.2 billion.

The cast members weren't exactly unknowns, either. Many had prominent careers leading up to the blockbuster's release and have thrived since. Some have remained very much in the spotlight, while others stepped away from the blockbuster stage after disembarking from their voyage with Cameron. Still others have appeared in places you might not expect. Here's what happened to the cast of "Titanic." Try not to get Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" gets stuck in your head.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson

Good luck finding anyone who doesn't know Mr. "I'm King of the World" has practically ruled Hollywood for more than two decades — not to mention inspired countless re-enactments of his scene on the bow of the doomed ocean liner.

Leonardo DiCaprio earned the first of his six Oscar nominations for 1994's "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," and although he was not nominated for "Titanic," he has been on a serious roll. He nabbed Best Actor nods for "The Aviator," "Blood Diamond," and "The Wolf of Wall Street" before finally breaking through with a win for 2015's "The Revenant." More recently, he was nominated for 2019's "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."

Anyone who does not know DiCaprio as an actor might recognize him as an environmental activist. He used part of his Oscars speech in 2016 to drive home his convictions. "Climate change is real, it is happening right now," he said. "It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating ... Let us not take this planet for granted."

Kate Winslet as Rose Dewitt Bukater

Kate Winslet's star was already on the rise when "Titanic" docked at theaters, as she had received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for 1995's "Sense and Sensibility." Her portrayal of Rose Dewitt Bukater, who falls in love with DiCaprio's Jack Dawson, earned her a Best Actress nod at the 1998 Academy Awards.

Several moments featuring Winslet and DiCaprio have taken on lives of their own, including when Jack draws Rose in the nude and the steamy love scene in the car. Another has sparked considerable debate: Could Jack have fit on the door that kept Rose afloat until she was rescued? Well, Winslet and Stephen Colbert set out to "fix" that scene in 2017, to hilarious effect.

Winslet's stock has soared since "Titanic." After the praise for that film came nominations for 2001's "Iris," 2004's "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and 2006's "Little Children" before she finally nabbed the Best Actress trophy for her performance in 2008's "The Reader."

Her success has not been limited to movies, either. In 2017, she won an Emmy for "Mildred Pierce," and in 2021 she picked up a Best Actress win for her role as Detective Mare Sheehan in HBO's "Mare of Easttown."

Billy Zane as Cal Hockley

The chief antagonist in the movie — besides the iceberg, that is — Billy Zane's Cal Hockley does everything he can to make the audience dislike him. He treats his fianceé, Rose Dewitt Bukater, like property and is dismissive of anyone not made of money. Of course, the manner in which Cal's character is written is understandable. The film would have been quite different if Jack Dawson had not been the clear front-runner for Rose's heart.

Since "Titanic," Zane has made a bit of a name for himself playing, well, Billy Zane. Eponymous appearances in "Zoolander," "Zoolander 2," "Holmes and Watson," and the Amazon Prime series "The Boys" speak to his marketability, and he has been working steadily in movies and television. Zane also is a partner in RadioactiveGiant, a film production company that is behind movies such as "Searching for Eddie Running Wolf," a documentary about a Native American woodcarving artist.

Kathy Bates as Molly Brown

Kathy Bates already was Hollywood royalty by the time she joined the "Titanic" cast, having won a Best Actress Academy Award for 1990's "Misery." Her Molly Brown character emerges as an ally to Jack as he tries to win Rose's affections. Molly is wealthy but does not carry herself as better than others, and she helps Jack blend in with the first-class passengers.

Reflecting on her role in a 2019 Vanity Fair interview, Bates recalled being in awe of James Cameron's "genius" as well as the vast set of the film. "I went up in this elevator, walked across some planks and I opened this door and I saw people strolling, and it was, suddenly, 1912," she said. "I couldn't see anything else but these people who were the background walking up and down and I thought, 'Holy crap, I feel like I've just walked into another time, another place.'"

Bates' notable credits since getting her start on TV's "All My Children" in 1970 are close to endless, including hit movies "The Waterboy" and "About Schmidt," as well as hit shows "Six Feet Under", "The Office," and "American Horror Story."

Bernard Hill as Captain Smith

Bernard Hill said in an interview with Concrete that acting was not something he gravitated toward at a young age. He also said that acting should not be anyone's first job. "Get a proper job," he said. "Get something else. Float around you for a while and you'll find where you really are. If you keep doing that and you still want to be an actor, then that's probably what you should do. But don't make that decision early on."

Nevertheless, Hill cruised from one of the biggest films ever in "Titanic" to a role in director Clint Eastwood's "True Crime," and then into one of the most colossal franchises of all time. His role of Theoden in "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" and "Return of the King" tops his list of career highlights. He followed that up with appearances in "Wimbledon" and "Valkyrie".

Although Hill has kept a fairly low profile in the United States, he has worked steadily in the years since on stage and screen. Appearances on British TV shows "Unforgotten" and "Wolf Hall," both of which bowed in 2015, are among his meatier roles of recent vintage.

Victor Garber as Thomas Andrews

It is Victor Garber's Thomas Andrews, the chief designer of the Titanic, who confirms the ship's fate to Rose Dewitt Bukater after its run-in with the iceberg: "In an hour or so, all of this will be at the bottom of the Atlantic."

Like most of the cast, Garber looks back on "Titanic" as an intense experience. "I loved working with James Cameron because he just expected everyone to have as much interest and passion in the project as he did, which is impossible," the actor told BUILD Series in 2015. "I made a point of being on target because I would do anything to avoid being yelled at."

The Canadian actor since primarily has found his footing in TV roles, be they series or movies on the small screen. The J.J. Abrams project "Alias" and "DC's Legends of Tomorrow" are among his highlights, as is the current Canadian series "Family Law." He also has appeared in high-profile films "Legally Blonde" and "Argo."

Bill Paxton as Brock Lovett

The 1980s were good to Bill Paxton, as he appeared in "Weird Science," "Commando," and "Aliens." The '90s were even better. Those who caught him in "Titanic" — in which his Brock Lovett character tries to balance being a historian with being a treasure hunter — might also have caught him in "Tombstone," "Apollo 13," or "Twister."

Paxton also holds an unusual sci-fi record: He is the only actor whose character was killed by a Terminator, a Xenomorph, and a Predator. James Cameron happens to be responsible for that record, having directed Paxton in "The Terminator" and "Aliens" as well as "Titanic." Of course, Lovett definitely survives to the end of the credits.

He later found a sweet spot on HBO's "Big Love" and won an Emmy for his work on the miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys." Paxton's role as the villainous John Lovett on "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." also turned heads.

"[Starring on 'Big Love'] is kind of like winning a trifecta for me," Paxton said in a 2009 interview with TheEnvelope.com. "I had always wanted to play a romantic part, but to do a romantic part times three has been a dream come true and also a pretty big challenge."

Paxton died in 2017 after complications from surgery, and his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital that treated him.

Frances Fisher as Ruth Dewitt Bukater

Frances Fisher's Ruth Dewitt Bukater is one of the primary reasons Rose is engaged to Cal Hockley. Ruth, Rose's mother, wields a cold practicality in pushing her daughter to marry Cal, as the Dewitt Bukaters' fortune is (secretly) not what it used to be.

Name a popular TV series, and there is a good chance Fisher has appeared on it during her 40-year career. She got her start on the soap opera "The Edge of Night," starring in 239 episodes at the end of the show's run. She has gone on to appear on a host of well-known shows, including "Matlock," "Becker," "The Shield," and "Masters of Sex." That's on top of the noteworthy film roles she has had, including director Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven" and "True Crime," as well as the "The Lincoln Lawyer."

She also has five episodes of HBO's "Watchmen" to her name and is set to star in "Rust," a western starring Alec Baldwin.

Gloria Stuart as Old Rose

Gloria Stuart arguably was the breakout star of "Titanic," which is both an oddity and a sign of her dedication to her craft. Her acting career began in 1932 and included credits in two Shirley Temple movies before she retired in 1946, only to return to the profession in the mid-1970s.

She was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as the elderly Rose, verbally sparring with Brock Lovett's team in search of the diamond known as the Heart of the Ocean. "I felt so deeply about this picture because it seemed to me the locking away of second-class citizens because of station in life and poverty, not allowing them to save themselves — first class dogs were saved — it's just not possible today," Stuart told "The View" in 1998. "And it was wonderful to be a part of so all of you could see how dreadful it could have been, and it isn't today."

At the time Stuart was the oldest person, at age 87, to be nominated for an Oscar, though Christopher Plummer eclipsed that record at 88 when he got a nod for 2017's "All the Money in the World." After "Titanic," Stuart made several appearances in TV and movies —in addition to surviving breast cancer — before she died at age 100 in 2010.

Ewan Stewart as 1st Officer Will Murdoch

Ewan Stewart, coming off an appearance in 1995's "Rob Roy," was at the center of one of the most jarring scenes of "Titanic." After accepting a bribe from Cal Hockley to save the passenger a seat on a lifeboat, 1st Officer Will Murdoch wrestles with his conscience to the point that he ultimately flings Cal's money back in his face as the ship is foundering, telling him, "Your money can't save you any more than it can save me." Murdoch's story ends with him shooting two desperate passengers before taking his own life with his pistol.

That particular moment in the movie prompted an apology from 20th Century Fox to Murdoch's nephew, as Titanic passengers had described Murdoch as doing his utmost to save people as the ship sank.

In addition to Stewart's stage career, his credits are packed with movie and TV appearances, from the Mads Mikkelsen vehicle "Valhalla Rising" to the Meryl Streep-led cast of "Florence Foster Jenkins." The Scottish actor also was rumored to be in the running to play James Bond in 2006's "Casino Royale," a role that ultimately went to Daniel Craig.

Danny Nucci as Fabrizio

Poor Fabrizio. All he wanted to do was to visit America. Little did he know his friend Jack Dawson's good luck at poker would lead him to join the Titanic's harrowing voyage and eventually get crushed by one of the vessel's massive smokestacks.

Nucci told Cosmopolitan in 2017 that his death originally was written differently. "The original death scene is I'm swimming in the water and I get past my hypothermia and I get over to a boat that Billy Zane's character is on," Nucci said. "I'm trying to get on and he's paranoid that it's going to sink and I go, 'No, no, you don't understand, I have to get to America' and he takes an oar and he smacks me in the head. And he says, 'It's that way!'" 

Nucci's "Titanic" role was an important feather in his 1990s cap, which included appearances in "Alive" and "Crimson Tide." He returned to his TV roots — which included a 16-episode run on "Falcon Crest" from 1998-99 — in the years that followed, landing a starring role on "The Fosters" from 2013-18.

He currently stars on the Fox drama "9-1-1" and will appear as former New York Congressman Mario Biaggi — who in real life was convicted on corruption charges — on "The Offer" on Paramount+.

David Warner as Spicer Lovejoy

Few actors have compiled careers as legendary as David Warner's. Always up for playing the villain, he spends "Titanic" terrorizing Jack Dawson at the behest of Cal Hockley, memorably getting into a waterlogged fistfight with Jack in the ship's first-class dining room as the Titanic sinks.

Warner's first credited role came on the BBC's "The Madhouse on Castle Street" in 1963, and he hasn't slowed down since. He likely is most recognized for his work in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's played several roles in "Star Trek" series and movies, chewed the scenery in "Time Bandits," starred in "Tron," and voiced villains who went toe-to-toe with Spider-Man and Doctor Who in separate animated series in the 1990s and 2000s, respectively.

For such a proficient actor, that career path was never a sure thing for Warner. "Academically I was hopeless, and athletically I was hopeless," he told The A.V. Club in 2017. "In my Wikipedia entry, it says I had a messy childhood, and that's the truth! But I sort of drifted into the odd school play, and that was one thing that I kind of felt that I had some enthusiasm for, so I was sort of interested. But I never thought I'd ever become a professional actor or anything."

Now in his 80s, Warner doesn't appear to be slowing down. He recently starred in "Mary Poppins Returns" and lent his voice to an episode of "Teen Titans Go!"

Jonathan Hyde as Bruce Ismay

Jonathan Hyde's Bruce Ismay, president of the White Star Line, is the poster child for arrogance — and later guilt — in "Titanic." Once the ship's voyage is under way, he urges the captain to "make headlines," a decision that hastens the ocean liner's demise. The last time the audience sees him, he's utterly ashamed and skulking onto a lifeboat meant primarily for women and children.

Hyde started his career in 1977 and co-starred in a string of hits in the late 1990s and early 2000s, appearing in "Jumanji," "The Mummy," and "The Tailor of Panama." Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that Hyde actually played two roles in "Jumanji." He starred as the father of Alan Parrish, as well as the villainous hunter Van Pelt.

Hyde later landed a role on the long-running British TV series "MI-5" before being featured on FX's "The Strain" from 2014-17. In 2018, he starred in the London stage production "Gently Down the Stream," a play that focused on an intergenerational gay relationship. 

Suzy Amis as Lizzy Calvert

One cast member who has slipped off the Hollywood radar is Suzy Amis. Her career streaked from the mid-1980s, starting with an appearance on "Miami Vice," through the late '90s. During that time, she starred in "Blown Away" (1994) and "The Usual Suspects" (1995). She and director James Cameron met and fell in love while filming "Titanic," in which she played old Rose's granddaughter, Lizzie Calvert. Amis' last film credit came in 1999.

She and Cameron married in 2000, and since then Amis has focused on her environmental activism, which has included opening a school dedicated to sustainable practices. "Having a relationship for 22 years we have a lot in common, and one of those happens to be around the environment," Amis Cameron told Australian talk show Studio 10 in 2018. "... We both brought a child to the marriage and then we've had three of our own, so my personal mission statement is making the world a better place for all of our children."