Though Jack and Rose were completely made up, there are plenty of "characters" in Titanic who were real people, many of whom had stories so interesting they could make up their own three-hour movie. Click through to see 18 real-life survivors and victims of the Titanic along with their cinematic counterparts.
Kathy Bates played Margaret Brown, commonly known as the Unsinkable Molly Brown. She earned her nickname because she urged the crewman in charge of her lifeboat to go back and rescue more passengers. Accounts vary as to whether or not the lifeboat went back, but Brown's story took on a life of its own — a musical called The Unsinkable Molly Brown debuted in 1960.
Bernard Hill (who also played Théoden in The Lord of the Rings) played Edward James Smith, who captained the Titanic and died when the ship sank. He was survived by his wife and their daughter.
Joseph Bruce Ismay, played by Jonathan Hyde, was the chairman and managing director White Star Line. He survived the sinking of Titanic and later testified before the U.S. Senate in an inquiry about the disaster. In the days after the sinking, the press harshly criticized him for saving himself while women and children were still aboard the ship.
John Jacob Astor IV, played by Eric Braeden, was the richest passenger on the Titanic and was one of the richest men in the world at the time of the sinking. His body was later recovered and was identified by initials sewn into his jacket.
Madeleine Force was John Jacob Astor IV's second wife, played by Charlotte Chatton. As depicted in the movie, she was pregnant at the time of the Titanic voyage; she and her husband were on their way back to America so the baby would be born there. She survived the sinking and gave birth four months later.
Played by Martin Jarvis, Cosmo Duff-Gordon was an Olympic silver medalist in fencing who survived the sinking. Like Bruce Ismay, he drew criticism for seeming to violate the "women and children first" rule established by White Star crew. He died in 1931 at age 68.
Played by Rosalind Ayres (the real-life wife of Martin Jarvis), Lady Duff-Gordon was the wife of Cosmo-Duff Gordon, and as Rose mentions in Titanic, she was a fashion designer. She did not, however, only design lingerie, and she also wrote fashion columns for magazines like Harper's Bazaar and Good Housekeeping.
Benjamin Guggenheim, played by Michael Ensign in Titanic, was a wealthy American businessman who boarded the ship with his mistress, Léontine Aubart. He died during the sinking with his valet, Victor Giglio. His brother, Solomon Guggenheim, is the Guggenheim whose name is on the Guggenheim in NYC.
Though she's barely in the movie, the Countess of Rothes, played by Rochelle Rose, was actually a heroine of the Titanic disaster. She helped steer her lifeboat away from the sinking ship and then to the rescue ship. She was also mentioned in Downton Abbey as being someone that the Crawleys had seen shortly before the sinking. (Remember? Matthew only inherited because some other Crawley relative died on the Titanic.)
Played by Victor Garber, Thomas Andrews was the shipbuilder in charge of building Titanic. As depicted in the movie, the real Andrews handed out life jackets and tried to help as many people as possible get to safety. He died when the ship sank and was survived by his wife and their daughter.
Played by Ewan Stewart, William Murdoch served as first officer on the Titanic. The movie shows Murdoch committing suicide after the ship hits the iceberg, but whether the real Murdoch did so is a matter of debate. After the release of Titanic, Murdoch's family demanded an apology from James Cameron and 20th Century Fox for the portrayal of their relative.
Frederick Fleet, played by Scott Anderson, was the lookout who spotted the iceberg that Titanic hit. As depicted in the movie, he really did shout, "Iceberg, right ahead!" when he saw it. Fleet survived the sinking and served in World War I and World War II. He committed suicide in 1965.
Portrayed by Gregory Cooke, John "Jack" Phillips was the senior wireless operator on board the Titanic, who sent out the distress call after the ship struck the iceberg. He died when the ship sank.
Harold Bride, played by Craig Kelly, was the junior wireless operator on board Titanic. He did survive the sinking and testified during the Senate inquiry about it.
Played by Jonathan Phillips, Charles Lightoller served as second officer on the Titanic. He survived the sinking and continued to work for White Star Line, and later served in World War I. During World War II, he used his private yacht to assist with the evacuation of Dunkirk; Mark Rylance's character arc in the 2017 movie Dunkirk closely mirrors Lightoller's story.
Played by Mark Lindsay Chapman, Henry Wilde was the chief officer on the ship and served on several White Star ships before working his way up to his position on the Titanic. He died during the sinking.
Isidor Straus, played by Lew Palter, was the co-owner of Macy's department store; he married his wife Ida, played by Elsa Raven, in 1871. Ida reportedly refused to board a lifeboat upon finding out that her husband could not board one and they both died in the sinking.
Titanic turns 20 on December 19. Read more anniversary articles here.