Ruan Lingyu (阮玲玉; April 26, 1910 – March 8, 1935), a Chinese silent-film actress still remembered by many, left behind 29 films and, allegedly, the final message “gossip is a fearful thing” when she committed suicide in Shanghai on March 8, 1935.
In the film The Goddess we see her portraying an unnamed prostitute struggling to support herself and send her son to school. Parents at the school complain and ask for her son to be expelled. The film ends with her in prison for the murder of the man who tormented her and kept her as his ‘property’. Her son is looked after by the school headmaster, he is told that his mother has died so he does not have to suffer the shame of having a prostitute for a mother.