What You Didn’t Know About the Unsinkable Molly Brown

By Karen Harris

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.