Actress Kathy Bates played Margaret Brown, who was then known as the Unsinkable Molly Brown. She earned this nickname because she urged the crewmen aboard her lifeboat that they should go back and rescue more passengers. It was unsure as to whether or not the lifeboat went back, however Brown’s story was then made into a musical called The Unsinkable Molly Brown in 1960.
J. Bruce Ismay
Joseph Bruce Ismay was played by Jonathan Hyde, and in real life was the chairman and managing director of the White Star Line. He survived the sinking on the Titanic and later testified before the U.S. Senate about the disaster. After the ship sank, the press criticized him for only saving himself while women and children were aboard the ship.
Madeleine Force, played by Charlotte Chatton, was John Jacob Astor IV’s second wife, and was actually pregnant at the time of the Titanic voyage – like it was depicted in the movie. She and her husband were on the way back to America, where they planned to give birth to the baby. Force survived the sinking and gave birth 4 months later.
Played by Martin Jarvis, Cosmo Duff-Gordon was an Olympic silver medalist in fencing who managed to survive the tragedy of the Titanic. Like Bruce Ismay, he was criticized after the sinking due to violating the “women and children first” rule. He died at age 68 in 1931.
Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon
Amazingly the women who played the wife of Cosmo Duff-Gordan was played by Rosalind Ayres, who was also the wife of the actor Martin Jarvis! Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon was a fashion designer, as mentioned by Rose in the Titanic. She didn’t, however, only design lingerie, she also wrote fashion columns for magazines.
Benjamin Guggenheim was played by Michael Ensign in the movie, and he was a wealthy American businessman who boarded the ship with his mistress, Leontine Aubart. He died during the tragedy with his valet, Victor Giglio. His brother is Solomon Guggenheim, whose name is on THE Guggenheim in NYC.
Noel Leslie, Countess of Rothes
Countess of Rothes is barely in the movie, however she was actually a heroine of the Titanic disaster. Played by Rochelle Rose in the movie, in real life she helped steer her lifeboat away from the sinking ship and then to the rescue ship. She was mentioned in Downton Abbey as being someone that the Crawleys had seen shortly before the sinking.
Played by Victor Garber, Thomas Andrews was the shipbuilder, in charge of building the Titanic. Like in the movie, the real Andrews handed out life jackets and tried to help as many people to get to safety. He died when the ship sank and left behind his wife and daughter.
William Murdoch, played by Ewan Stewart, served as first officer on the Titanic. The movie depicted Murdoch committing suicide when the iceberg hit, but it’s unknown as to whether this happened in real life or not. After the release of the movie, Murdoch’s family demanded an apology from 20th Century Fox for this portrayal.
Captain Edward Smith
Bernard Hill, who also played Theoden in The Lord Of The Rings, played Edward James Smith. Smith was captain of the Titanic, and evidently died when the ship sank. He left behind his wife and their daughter. In the movie, it shows Smith’s death scene as that he entered the ship’s wheelhouse before the room flooded, however some witnesses claim he jumped into the ocean.