Manuscript That Inspired 'Titanic' Character Revealed in Paris

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When Helen Churchill Candee wrote a 42-page memoir of the Titanic's maiden voyage, she had no idea she was writing herself into the role of a Hollywood heroine.

"Titanic" director James Cameron reportedly took his inspiration for the character Rose from that manuscript, which is on public view for the first time at the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts in Paris.

But unlike the young Rose, as played by Kate Winslet, Candee was a 50-year-old American divorcee who was also a writer, nurse and suffragette, returning home in 1912 after learning that one of her sons had been injured in a car crash.

Two days into the voyage, she was enjoying the company of her fellow first class passengers before disaster struck. Candee wrote, "All of my group were gathered together in the Ritz restaurant of the ship at 11 o'clock in the evening."

Hours later, the great ship hit an iceberg.

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