The tragedy of the Titanic is one of the more infamous disasters in history. Granted, it may not be of the biggest scope, but it was one of the most memorable catastrophes brought about by man's error of judgment. Sure, the ship itself sank because it hit an iceberg, but it has been confirmed that design flaws, man's hubris, and lack of lifeboats killed more than a thousand people.

2,200 people were aboard the Titanic during its first journey. It was a huge ship, one of the biggest of its time, and its creators prided it as unsinkable (disastrous famous last words). Only 700 passengers made it out of the cold Atlantic ocean. And perhaps because of the nature of the disaster and the role people played in it, there are several adaptations of the story of the Titanic, none more famous than the 1997 version directed by James Cameron. In the movie, there are several characters that are based on real-life voyagers on the Titanic. So, while the colossal ship rests at the bottom of the ocean, it's time to delve a bit deeper into the stories of its passengers.

#1

James Cameron's Titanic Drew Inspiration From Real Life Passengers, Such As The Unsinkable Molly Brown

James Cameron's Titanic Drew Inspiration From Real Life Passengers, Such As The Unsinkable Molly Brown

Margaret Brown (played by Kathy Bates), also known as The Unsinkable Molly Brown, was an American socialite, philanthropist, and activist. In the film, she seemingly supported Jack's attempts to woo Rose by providing him with a suit to wear to a fancy dinner. In reality, Margaret was so much more—she helped others reach and safely board the lifeboats, and even when she herself was safely away from the sinking ship, she tried to convince the boat's officer to go back for the less fortunate ones. Later on, she even raised funds to assist the disaster survivors. For all her hard work, she received Order of the Legion of Honor.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Danielle Dorman
Community Member
1 year ago

This is so close So weird!

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#2

The Elderly On-Screen Couple Was Based On An Equally Loving Real-Life Marriage

The Elderly On-Screen Couple Was Based On An Equally Loving Real-Life Marriage

Ida (played by Elsa Raven) and Isidore Strauss (played by Lew Palter) were real-life people, a married couple whose memorable moment in the movie was the scene of them hugging while awaiting their fate. Reportedly, both of them chose to remain together, staying on the Titanic. Isidore wanted his wife to save herself, but Ida said, “We have lived together for so many years. Where you are, there I am."

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Sofia Cohn
Community Member
1 year ago

And he was the owner of Macy's!

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#3

Close To 1,500 People Died That Night, Including The Captain And Many Of The Crew

Close To 1,500 People Died That Night, Including The Captain And Many Of The Crew

A notable figure was Edward Smith (played by Bernard Hill), the 62-year-old captain of the Titanic. Before he stood at the helm of the Titanic, he gained 40 years of experience, making him one of the most trustworthy captains of White Star Line (the company that launched the Titanic). While both the real and on-screen versions of the captain met their end on the sinking ship, in real life, Edward assisted the terrified passengers and helped the crew. Only when it was inevitable did he go towards the flooding bridge and that was the last anyone saw of him.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Andrew Gibb
Community Member
1 year ago

Captain Birdseye!

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#4

The Second Mate Survived The Titanic And Later Insisted On Improvements Of Passenger Ships

The Second Mate Survived The Titanic And Later Insisted On Improvements Of Passenger Ships

Charles Lightoller (played by Jonathan Phillips) was the second mate on the Titanic. During the sinking, he helped 29 other men balance an overturned foldable boat. While not everyone made it, he saved lives by sharing his knowledge. And after the disaster, he helped improve the quality of passenger ships, such as insisting on more lifeboats and better communication between ships.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Karolina Hofman
Community Member
1 year ago

This man's biography is a movie material! He also evacuated 127 British soldiers from Dunkirk beach in 1940 on his motor yacht. True hero.

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#5

Wallace Hartley And The Orchestra Truly Played To Calm The Passengers While The Ship Was Sinking

Wallace Hartley And The Orchestra Truly Played To Calm The Passengers While The Ship Was Sinking

Wallace Hartley (played by Jonathan Evans-Jones), the orchestra leader on the ship, truly did stay behind and played while the Titanic was sinking. He and other musicians tried to help the passengers calm down. None of the musicians made it off the ship, playing right until the ship was submerged.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

The Zooble
Community Member
1 year ago

The scene in that movie that makes me the saddest is when the orchestra are playing and then it goes to the old couple lying in bed and then the lady reading to her children and you just know at that moment that none of them are going to make it.

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#6

Colonel Gracie Wrote A Book About His Experience, Which Is An Important Source Of Information On The Titanic's Sinking

Colonel Gracie Wrote A Book About His Experience, Which Is An Important Source Of Information On The Titanic's Sinking

Colonel Archibald Gracie IV (played by Bernard Fox) helped the fellow passengers and, after returning home, he wrote a book about his experiences. It has become a valuable source of information for historians and researchers of the disaster. It is said the Titanic's catastrophe never left the Colonel and his last words were, “We have to put them on boats. We have to put them all on boats."

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Karolina Hofman
Community Member
1 year ago

Poor soul, he suffered from diabetes and injuries and hypothermia he suffered that fateful night worsened his condition. He died 8 months after surviving the disaster.

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#7

Dramatization In The Movie May Have Ruined The First Mate's Reputation If His Family Hadn't Protested

Dramatization In The Movie May Have Ruined The First Mate's Reputation If His Family Hadn't Protested

William Murdoch (played by Ewan Stewart) was the first mate on the ship. He did his duty to the best of his ability, and even tried to avoid the collision with the iceberg (even if the decision came too late). But in the movie version, he was portrayed as less heroic, accepting a bribe, shooting panicking people, and eventually turning a gun on himself. William's remaining family were outraged by the film's portrayal and the filmmakers even went to his hometown to apologize personally, even making a donation to the Murdoch Charity Prize.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Kayla J
Community Member
1 year ago

Yeah, that was a real **** thing to do to Mr Murdoch's legacy. I get it, they needed drama, but the ship was sinking and Rose's husband was shown as an ass, I think they went overboard with this one big time. It's nice that they apologized personally and made a donation, but a lot of people still don't know about this.

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#8

During The Disaster, A Countess Didn't Shy Away From Helping Third-Class Passengers

During The Disaster, A Countess Didn't Shy Away From Helping Third-Class Passengers

Noël Leslie (played by Rochelle Rose), Countess of Rothes, was a first-class passenger. She escaped the sinking Titanic in one of the lifeboats, and it is said she helped the third-class passengers that were with her. She was last seen onboard Carpathia.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Tiari
Community Member
1 year ago

She was not last seen onboard the Carparthia, she lived until 1965, if anyone else wondered.

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#9

The Titanic's Creator Went Down With The Ship And Was No Less Heroic Than The Captain In Real Life

The Titanic's Creator Went Down With The Ship And Was No Less Heroic Than The Captain In Real Life

Thomas Andrews (played by Victor Garber) was the creator of the Titanic. It was likely he, too, was confident in his creation; after all, he poured his heart into the transatlantic ship. But he also knew of the ship's shortcomings and when the ship hit the iceberg, he prepared for the inevitable, yet didn't doom others. It is said he helped the passengers and even threw the sun loungers off the deck in hopes they could be used as floats by those in the water.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Yafa Crane Luria
Community Member
1 year ago

Apparently, he was opposed by the owners of White Star Lines who wanted to debut the ship ASAP. He wanted to use better materials (stronger, less brittle) He also opposed the removal of life boats (they were removed so that Titanic would look better in photos).

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#10

A Pregnant First-Class Passenger Survived The Sinking, But Lost Her Husband

A Pregnant First-Class Passenger Survived The Sinking, But Lost Her Husband

Madeleine Force (played by Charlotte Chatton) was the second wife of John Jacob Astor IV. She was pregnant during the trip, as she and her husband were hoping to have their child be born in America. She survived the sinking as her husband made sure she reached the lifeboats. Her child was born a few months after the disaster.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Norma
Community Member
1 year ago

This is heartbreaking...

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#11

Despite The Facts, The Movie Version Created A Villain Out Of The Director Of The Titanic's Company

Despite The Facts, The Movie Version Created A Villain Out Of The Director Of The Titanic's Company

Joseph Bruce Ismay (played by Jonathan Hyde) was chairman and director of the White Star Line Steamship Company. He wanted to create a ship that could boast unparalleled luxury and it is said that because of this, he decreased the number of lifeboats from 48 to 16. While a true villain in the movie, real-life Joseph actually helped other passengers during the disaster. He survived the Titanic's sinking; however, his reputation was forever tarnished.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Id row
Community Member
1 year ago

He honestly didn't deserve to make it off the ship.

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#12

An Overworked Radio Operator Missed The Warnings Of The Iceberg, But Stayed To Broadcast The Distress Signal Till The End

An Overworked Radio Operator Missed The Warnings Of The Iceberg, But Stayed To Broadcast The Distress Signal Till The End

John "Jack" Phillips (played by Gregory Cooke) was the radio operator on the Titanic. Sadly, during the trip, Jack was overworked and didn't pay much attention to the warnings from nearby ships that spotted icebergs in the water. After the impact, Jack continued to broadcast the distress signal, right until the cabin was flooded. He didn't make it.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Andrew Gibb
Community Member
1 year ago

Jack Phillips was from a village of Godalming in Surrey, UK. There is a pub there named after him.

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#13

A Surviving Junior Wireless Operator Gave Important Information About The Sinking

A Surviving Junior Wireless Operator Gave Important Information About The Sinking

Harold Bride (played by Craig Kelly) worked with Jack Phillips and was the junior wireless operator. He helped send out the personal messages from the passengers, and when the disaster struck, it's likely he assisted Jack with his work. Eventually, Harold left for the lifeboats and survived the sinking. His testimonial was important during the Titanic investigation inquiry.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Nathalie Örling
Community Member
1 year ago

Survived by clinging on to collapsible B, half submerged in the freezing water. His feet and legs were so badly frost bitten that the doctors at first thought they would have to be amputated

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#14

One Of The Richest People In The World Died Onboard The Titanic

One Of The Richest People In The World Died Onboard The Titanic

John Jacob Astor IV (played by Eric Braeden) was an American real estate developer and the richest person on the Titanic (presumably, he was also one of the wealthiest in the world). He died on the Titanic, but was one of those whose body was recovered—he was recognized by the initials sewn into his jacket.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Purr·maid
Community Member
1 year ago

Victor Newman!!

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#15

A Member Of The Famous Guggenheim Family Died During The Titanic Disaster

A Member Of The Famous Guggenheim Family Died During The Titanic Disaster

Benjamin Guggenheim (played by Michael Ensign) was a businessman onboard the Titanic. He perished with the ship together with his valet, Victor Giglio. According to eyewitness reports, he and his valet were last seen on the deck, listening to the orchestra playing.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Shell O
Community Member
1 year ago

I have always been fascinated by the story of the Titanic. I've read every book I can get hold of. I was amazed when my daughter was due on the 15th April 2012, and even more amazed when she was born on her due date - the 100 year anniversary. I always want to find out more about the Titanic and her crew and passengers, and my family joke that there can't possibly be more I can find out - but I will still try!

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#16

A Lookout On The Titanic Didn't Have Proper Equipment To Spot The Iceberg

A Lookout On The Titanic Didn't Have Proper Equipment To Spot The Iceberg

Frederick Fleet (played by Scott Anderson) was on the lookout when the ship hit the iceberg, and he later admitted they were given no binoculars, further reducing the ability to see anything in the dark. While visibility may have been tricky even with the proper equipment, the sailor's admission further underlined the tragedy. Frederick survived and rowed the same boat Margaret Brown was on.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Wilf
Community Member
1 year ago

This myth again! Binoculars are NOT used at sea to find objects, they are used to identify an object that you have already seen. It's obvious when you think about it- the field of vision is too small for someone to effectively scan the horizon. The Titanic inquiry concluded that the absence of binoculars in the lookout position was not a factor in the collision. Indeed, the lookout and the bridge saw the iceberg at about the same time.

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#17

A Lady Escaped In One Of The First Lifeboats Because They Still Believed The Ship Wouldn't Fully Sink

A Lady Escaped In One Of The First Lifeboats Because They Still Believed The Ship Wouldn't Fully Sink

Lady Lucy Duff-Gordon (played by Rosalind Ayres) was a fashion designer and the wife of Cosmo Duff-Gordon. She survived with her husband by boarding the first of the lifeboats before the panic set in—that's the reason why both of them were allowed to board it.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

the idoit
Community Member
1 year ago

of topic of that a cute dog

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#18

A Silver Medalist In Fencing Who Survived Had To Live With A Rumor That He Broke The "Women And Children First" Rule

A Silver Medalist In Fencing Who Survived Had To Live With A Rumor That He Broke The "Women And Children First" Rule

Cosmo Duff-Gordon (played by Martin Jarvis) was an Olympic silver medalist in fencing. He survived the sinking, but there was a rumor attached to his name that he bribed the crew in the lifeboat to escape by violating the "women and children first" rule. He was later cleared of the rumor.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Jamma
Community Member
1 year ago

What on earth could you bribe someone with in such a situation? Money? They wouldn't even be assured they'd survive to spend it!

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#19

The Chief Officer Of The Titanic, Like Many Of The Crew, Perished With The Ship

The Chief Officer Of The Titanic, Like Many Of The Crew, Perished With The Ship

Henry Wilde (played by Mark Lindsay Chapman) was a chief officer on the Titanic. He had a promising career in White Star company, and had served on several on their ships before being assigned to the transatlantic giant. Unfortunately, the officer died during the sinking.

Titanic / Paramount Pictures Corporation , Wikimedia Commons Report

Matt Chapman
Community Member
1 year ago

He was the same officer found dead in the water, Rose took the whistle from his mouth to call for the lifeboat.