What You Didn’t Know About the Unsinkable Molly Brown

By | August 27, 2018

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Everyone remembers Kathy Bates’ portrayal of the Denver socialite, Molly Brown, in the 1997 James Cameron film, Titanic. Bates played Molly Brown as a tough-talking, in-your-face, unlikely socialite with a heart for the underprivileged. Bates’ portrayal was true to the real-life Molly Brown, whose life is a rags-to-riches story of love and philanthropy…and surviving the most famous disaster at sea which earned her the nickname Unsinkable. Here is what you didn’t know about the Unsinkable Molly Brown. 

First of All, Her Name Wasn’t Molly

It was Margaret. She was born Margaret Tobin on July 18, 1867, in Missouri to poor Irish-Catholic parents. During her lifetime, friends called her ‘Maggie’, the traditional nickname for Margaret. After surviving the sinking of the Titanic, she became known as the ‘Unsinkable Mrs. Brown’. It wasn’t until later that it morphed into the ‘Unsinkable Molly Brown.’  The name ‘Molly,” most often a diminutive form of Mary, may have been chosen to point out Brown’s Irish-Catholic, working-class heritage. 

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Molly Brown was a Wannabe Gold Digger

When Molly Brown moved from Missouri to the thriving boomtown of Denver when she was just 18, she had plans to find a wealthy husband. She claimed she wanted a husband who had the financial means to support her and to give her father, broken down from years of labor, a comfortable retirement lifestyle. She later wrote, “I wanted a rich man. I wanted comfort from my father and how I had determined to stay single until a man presented himself who could give the tired old man the things I longed for him.” Molly Brown’s plan failed.