This year marks the 25th anniversary of the James Cameron-directed film Titanic. The movie ranks as the No. 3 highest-grossing film of all time (behind Cameron’s Avatar and Avengers: Endgame) with $2.2 billion at the worldwide box office, according to Box Office Mojo, and won 11 Oscars, tied with Ben-Hur and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King for the most wins ever.
While it marked breakout roles for Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, the movie also featured a cast of actors and actresses who were not only seasoned in their careers, but have gone on to appear in other successful films and on television.
As the movie celebrates its 25th anniversary (it first hit theaters Dec. 19, 1997), The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at what the cast has been up to since appearing in the film about the “Ship of Dreams,” from winning Academy Awards to starring on television shows to hitting the stage in theatrical productions.
One of his early film roles, Titanic found Leonardo DiCaprio played the film’s leading man, Jack Dawson. Dawson is a third-class passenger who wins a ticket to board the Titanic from a poker game. While on board, he falls in love with first-class passenger Rose DeWitt Bukater. Although many auditioned, DiCaprio landed the role at just 20 years old. Prior to his star-marking role in the film, DiCaprio played Luke Brower in the television show Growing Pains and starred in films that includedThis Boy’s Life and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. After Titanic, DiCaprio went on to star in various blockbusters, such as The Aviator, Inception, Shutter Island and Catch Me If You Can, and reunited with Winslet for 2008’s Revolutionary Road. After earning five Oscar nominations throughout his career, DiCaprio won his first Academy Award for best actor for his 2015 film The Revenant. Upon hearing DiCaprio’s name called at the Academy Awards, Winslet — nominated for her role in Steve Jobs — was visibly emotional and cheered him on during his acceptance speech.
Although having starred in British films such as Hamlet, Sense and Sensibility and Jude, Winslet’s role as Rose DeWitt Bukater could be considered her international breakout role. The then 21-year-old beat out Hollywood actresses for the coveted role including Gwyneth Paltrow and Claire Danes after campaigning to Cameron. Her leading character was a first-class passenger who struggled with dealing with her strict mother and controlling fiancé. After she meets Dawson, she begins to discover who she is and frees herself from the chains she’s felt locked by throughout her life. Winslet earned an Academy Award nomination for her role as the spunky Rose. In 2009, Winslet won an Academy Award for best actress for her performance in The Reader. The actress won an Emmy in 2021 for her role in HBO Max’s Mare of Easttown. Winslet most recently reunited with Cameron for Avatar: The Way of the Water.
Billy Zane played Titanic villain Cal Hockley. Zane’s role as Rose’s wealthy, controlling fiancé was and continues to be one of the actor’s most notable roles. His role earned him a nomination for best villain at the MTV Movie Awards as well as a Blockbuster Entertainment Award. Zane was also nominated for a SAG Award for his role. Prior to playing the character, Zane had two screen roles in the 1985 film Back to the Future and the 1986 film Critters. Zane reprised his Back to the Future role in the second installment released in 1989 and later portrayed Hughie Warriner in the film Dead Calm starring Nicole Kidman. Zane also has appeared in a variety of films that include The Believer, alongside Ryan Gosling, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Zane also appeared on Broadway in Chicago, where he portrayed the character Billy Flynn. The Titanic actor also had a recurring role on Charmed and voiced the main antagonist in the video game Kingdom Hearts. Outside of acting, Zane is also an artist.
Although Winslet and DiCaprio were starring in their first big box-office hit, Kathy Bates joined Titanic as a seasoned award-winning actress. Beginning her acting career onstage, Bates was nominated for a Tony for best actress for her role in the 1983 play ‘night, Mother. A few years later, she won a Golden Globe and Oscar for best actress for her performance in the 1990 film Misery. After starring in Fried Green Tomatoes and Dolores Claiborne, Bates earned the role as Molly Brown in Titanic. Bate’s role after Titanic was that of political adviser Libby Holden in the 1998 drama Primary Colors, for which she received her second Academy award nomination, for best supporting actress. Bates also has a long list of television roles that include The Stand, The Late Shift and Six Feet Under. Bates has also starred in in American Horror Story. In 2016, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Before landing the role of Rose’s mom, Ruth, in Titanic, Frances Fisher began her career in theater and later starred in the ABC daytime soap The Edge of Night. She also starred in the CBS soap Guiding Light and made appearances on shows such as In the Heat of Night and Newhart. Prior to playing Ruth, Fisher’s breakout role was in the Academy Award-winning film Unforgiven, which starred and was directed by Clint Eastwood, her partner at the time (they had one child together, Francesca, born in 1993). After Titanic, Fisher appeared in the 1999 film True Crime, reuniting with Eastwood, and in the 2003 Oscar-nominated film House of Sand and Fog. She has also appeared in The Lincoln Lawyer and The Roommate and on television series HBO’s Watchmen and the fourth season of USA’s The Sinner.
In Titanic, Bill Paxton plays Brock Lovett, a treasure hunter who is actively searching for the Heart of the Ocean diamond necklace, believed to be hidden somewhere in the sunken ship. Before portraying Lovett, Paxton had both a film director and music career. In his earliest roles, Paxton appeared in James Cameron’s films The Terminator (1984) and Aliens (1986) and in the 1985 John Hughes film Weird Science. In 1982, Paxton formed a band with his friend dubbed Martini Ranch, with one of their music videos directed by Cameron. Paxton also worked with Cameron in the 1994 film True Lies. Following Titanic, Paxton slipped into the director shoes for the 2001 feature film Frailty. He later had a starring role in the acclaimed HBO show Big Love that earned him three Golden Globe nominations. Paxton also received praise for his role in the History Channel miniseries Hatfields & McCoys alongside co-star Kevin Costner. Paxton earned an Emmy nomination for his role in the historical series. He also appeared in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the 2014 film Edge of Tomorrow. In 2016, Paxton starred in his final television role in the film-to-TV adaptation Training Day. In February 2017, Paxton died at age 61 from complications of a heart surgery.