The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize
Established in 1994 by the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize Trust and administered by JPMorgan Chase Bank as trustee, the Prize is given annually to “a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.” In her will, Lillian Gish stated: “It is my desire, by establishing this prize, to give recipients of the prize the recognition they deserve, to bring attention to their contributions to society and encourage others to follow in their path.”
The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize is one of the largest awards in the arts. Now in its 19th year, the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize pays tribute to trailblazers who have redefined their art and pushed the boundaries of excellence in their field. Previous recipients have shaped the cultural landscape in drama, music, dance, art, architecture, lighting design, film, and literature.
Dorothy and Lillian Gish both followed their mother onto the stage at an early age. The older of the two sisters, Lillian took her first theatrical curtain call in 1902 at the age of eight in the play In Convict’s Stripes. In 1912, Mary Pickford, a childhood friend, introduced the sisters to filmmaker D.W. Griffith, launching their film careers. Lillian would become one of America’s best-loved actresses and is considered by many the First Lady of the Screen. In her 85-year career, she appeared in over 100 films—from D.W. Griffith’s An Unseen Enemy (1912) to Lindsay Anderson’s The Whales of August (1987)—and also took numerous roles in television and on stage. Lillian Gish died on February 27, 1993, at the age of 99.
Dorothy Gish began her acting career on stage at the age of four and went on to make over 100 films, many of them with Lillian. Dorothy’s early work in film highlighted her keen sense of humor bringing her acclaim as a star of comedy films. At the end of the silent era, Dorothy turned her attention to the American stage, where her career began. Success in Young Love brought her accolades with New York audiences, on the road, and subsequently in London. In 1939 Dorothy and Lillian found the perfect role in Life with Father where they each played Vinnie Day, wife of Clarence Day, Sr., in two road company, extensive American tours. Dorothy returned to film and television in the 1950s. She died in 1968 with her sister by her side.
Both sisters left the bulk of their estates to the arts, including a trust for the formation of The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.
The Nomination Process
To nominate a candidate for the Gish Prize, please contact Jonathan Horowitz.
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
The Gish Prize Consultant