Sunday, May 31, 2009

Last Survivor of Titanic Sinking Has Died -- Stars of Hit Film Recently Lent Support

Millvina Dean, who as a baby was wrapped in a sack and lowered into a lifeboat in the frigid North Atlantic, died Sunday, having been the last survivor of 1912 sinking of the RMS Titanic. She was 97 years old, and she died where she had lived — in Southampton, England, the city her family had tried to leave behind when it took the ship's ill-fated maiden voyage, bound for America.

Of 2,223 people aboard the Titanic, Dean was the youngest at nine weeks old. Only 706 survived the disaster and 1,517 perished as the ship hit an iceberg on the night of April 14 -- and sank two hours and forty minutes later, early on April 15.

Dean, pictured above at a 1999 Titanic convention, moved into a nursing home after breaking her hip about three years ago. She had to sell several Titanic mementoes to raise money to offset bills, prompting her friends to set up a fund to subsidize her nursing home fees. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, the stars of the film "Titanic," pledged their support to the fund last month with a joint contribution of $20,000. This was added to by donations of $10,000 from the film's director, James Cameron, and Celine Dion, who sang the theme song for the 1997 blockbuster.

Meanwhile, did you know that Gloria Stuart is still alive and well? Stuart, who played the fictional Rose in the movie, will turn 99 on July 4.

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