11 real passengers who told their tragic stories in the movie “Titanic”
The famous 1997 film Titanic, dedicated to one of the worst disasters in history, also brought the stories of many real passengers to the big screen. This film, directed by James Cameron and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, managed to captivate audiences. However, there is a fact that many of us may not be aware of. The stories of some of the people we see in the film are actually based on the people who boarded the Titanic and survived that terrible night. In this article, we take a look at 11 real-life passengers from the Titanic movie and look at their stories.
1. Margaret Brown
Known as a philanthropist and activist, Margaret Brown was one of the passengers on the Titanic. Margaret was known for her selflessness and compassion for others. You remember the scene from the movie where he gives Jack his son’s costume. In real life, he did much more, making heroic efforts to guide passengers aboard lifeboats and not worrying about his own safety until the last minute. Even after being rescued by the ocean liner Carpathia, Margaret formed several committees to provide financial and psychological support to the survivors. As a result of all this help, she was given the name “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”.
2nd Captain Edward Smith
The captain of the Titanic, Edward Smith, came from a working-class family. He began his career as an apprentice in 1867 and left school at the age of 13. In subsequent periods, he continued his career by working on ships. He was at sea for over 40 years as the most experienced captain of the White Star Line during the voyage of the Titanic. The ill-fated voyage of the Titanic will be the last before retiring.
3. J. Bruce Ismay
Joseph Bruce Ismay was president and director of the White Star Line. He planned to get ahead of his competitors by building a flamboyant and unique Titanic. He made the controversial decision to cut the number of lifeboats on board from 48 to 16. After escaping the ship, he faced public backlash for abandoning women and children on the ship. People said he was a “coward,” an adjective forever stuck with Ismay. This is how the character is portrayed in the film.
4. Thomas Andrews
Thomas Andrews, who designed the Titanic, took part in the ship’s first and last voyage. After the Titanic hit the iceberg, Andrews was one of the few people who noticed the ship was sinking. Andrews assisted passengers who wanted to board the lifeboats. He personally checked the cabins, told people to put on life jackets and led them on deck. Despite his valiant efforts, Andrews, along with the Titanic, sank in the deep waters of the ocean.
5. John Jacob Astor
John Jacob Astor was one of the first class passengers on the Titanic. He was a member of the Astor family of American millionaires and a colonel who served in the Spanish–American War. Astor is considered the richest passenger on the Titanic and was one of the richest people in the world at the time. When he died on the day of the disaster, he was worth an estimated $87 million. This amount was equivalent to $2.44 billion in 2021. Now, probably a lot more.
6. William McMaster Murdoch
William Murdoch was an officer and experienced sailor on the Titanic. He was on deck the day of the disaster. Although he tried to avoid the collision, the iceberg was seen late. The crew had only 37 seconds to react before the crash. James Cameron’s portrayal of Murdoch in the film was controversial. Murdoch’s nephew said the character was complex and ambiguous. The filmmakers then visited Murdoch’s hometown and made a donation to a fund set up in his memory.
7. Frederick Fleet
There were two people watching the sea the night the Titanic sank. One of them was a young man named Frederick Fleet. Having survived on the ship, she testified before the American and British commissions investigating the disaster. He claimed that he was not given binoculars during the trip, otherwise the iceberg would have been noticed much earlier. Despite Fleet’s testimony, some experts believed the binoculars didn’t work at night either.
8. Madeleine Force
Madeleine Force, who was 18 years old at the time of the trip, was the wife of John Jacob Astor. She was a first class passenger on the Titanic with her husband from Cherbourg, France, her husband’s butler Victor Robbins, her maid Rosalie Bidois and nurse Caroline Endres. Also with them was Astor’s Airedale Terrier dog, Kitty. Madeleine was five months pregnant when she boarded the ship. He was also one of the lucky survivors of that day.
9. Charles Lightoller
Charles Lightoller was the first captain of the Titanic. He managed to escape by jumping before the ship sank and survived by clinging to the capsized boat. He was the highest ranking person to survive the disaster. After the accident, Lightoller worked to improve passenger safety measures on the ships. His proposals included important changes such as increasing the number of lifeboats, training in their use, providing 24-hour radio communications with other ships, and transmitting warnings of dangerous weather conditions. His efforts have helped shape the standard of passenger transportation today.
10. Archibald Gracie IV
Archibald Gracie IV was a prominent writer and first class passenger on the Titanic. When the ship sank, Gracie helped Lightoller evacuate the women and children. He later escaped in an overturned boat, but suffered from hypothermia and his health was severely compromised. Regardless, Gracie decided to document what happened that night. Returning to New York, he began writing his memoirs, describing his experiences on the Titanic. This article later became a valuable resource for historians and researchers who wanted to understand the catastrophe. Tragically, Gracie passed away from complications of diabetes just eight months after the disaster.
11. Wallace Hartley
Do you remember the scene where the band kept playing while the Titanic was sinking? As impossible as it seemed, it actually happened. Wallace Hartley was the ship’s conductor, and after hitting the iceberg, he and other musicians began playing music to calm the passengers. According to numerous testimonies, the orchestra continued to play until the ship sank. All musicians died. In 2006, the musician’s violin was found. Behind him was a message from Hartley’s fiancée, Maria. — Wallace, Maria, to celebrate our engagement.
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Benjamin Guggenheim: The American Millionaire Who Fell ‘Like a Gentleman’ from the Titanic
Omer Khayyam Sinking with the Titanic, II. The sad story of the book of Roubaix, burned during the Second World War
From Titanic to Antikythera: The 9 Most Famous Shipwrecks Ever Found
Together until the last moment: the story of a couple who died together in the sinking of the Titanic
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