She was one of the shining stars of the golden era of motion pictures, with most of her career in the 1930s before she got sick of being typecast as "girl reporter, girl detective, girl overboard" and largely quit acting. She performed on stage a bit, and then painted.
If it weren't for one guy, just the handful of us who've seen her with Boris Karloff in "The Old Dark House" or Claude Rains in "The Invisible Man" would have heard of her. That one guy? James Cameron. He's why we can take one look at her face and recognize Rose, the great grandmother who tells us the romantic tale in "Titanic." At the age of 86, it was her only Oscar nomination.