Caledon Nathan Hockley
March 17, 1882 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
December 15, 1929 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nathan Hockley (father)
Rose DeWitt Bukater
New York, U.S.A.
Survived Titanic sinking by bluffing his way onto a lifeboat (1912)
In 1912 he was a first-class passenger aboard the RMS Titanic, accompanying his 17-year-old fiancée Rose DeWitt Bukater. However, during the voyage Rose and third-class passenger Jack Dawson fell in love.
The ship struck an iceberg and sank a few days before the date of its intended arrival in New York City. Hockley survived the sinking by cheating his way onto a lifeboat, pretending a deserted child was his own. He lost contact with Rose, mistakenly believing she had died in the sinking.
He was later driven to suicide after being bankrupted by the financial crash of 1929.
Caledon Nathan Hockley was born in 1882. He was from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Not much was known of his early life or his parents, but it is said his father was Nathan Hockley, a successful American Pittsburgh steel tycoon who was very respected and powerful. His mother was never mentioned, and it is assumed both his parents were dead by the time of the Titanic's voyage. He was tall, standing at 6'½" (1.84 m). He was known to have travelled to England where he met Rose and her mother Ruth DeWitt Bukater. Ruth arranged a marriage between Rose and Cal, despite Rose's dislike towards him, and they were to marry in Philadelphia after their voyage on Titanic. Not much else is known about his early life.
Boarding of the Titanic
In 1912, Cal boarded the Titanic with Rose and her mother Ruth. The trio, accompanied by their servants, were on their way to Philadelphia, PA, so Cal and Rose could get married. He had purchased tickets for the Private Promenade/Parlor Suite on B-Deck where he made fun of Rose's taste in art, ironically criticizing the artwork of Monet and Picasso. Despite his negative comments, Rose ignored him and continued talking to her maid/friend Trudy.
Rose and Trudy left the Sitting Room to find a place for the Degas of Dancer painting. She placed it on the vanity in her bedroom as Trudy began unpacking. She commented on the ship smelling brand new and tells Rose she will be the first person on the ship to sleep beneath the fresh, crisp linen sheets. Cal interrupted them and began to flirt with Rose (much to her discomfort).Note: This appears in a deleted scene.
On board the Titanic
At lunch, Cal undermined Rose further by ordering her food for her and taking away her cigarette and stubbing it out. After a barbed remark from Rose to Bruce Ismay, Rose left the table and went onto the deck, where Jack first spotted her. Cal came outside to scold her, but she rebuked him.
Later that night, Rose tried to commit suicide by climbing over the ship's rails in order to avoid the arranged marriage and what she saw as a miserable life of constant abuse and torment. However, she was stopped by Jack (the 20 year old third-class man who she saw earlier) who convinced her not to kill herself. Rose attempted to climb back over the rails, but slipped and screamed, which alerted other people. Jack managed to haul her up and pull her back on board, but they both fell onto the deck in a heap just as others arrived. Upon arriving at the scene, Cal assumed Jack had tried to rape Rose, but she was able to convince him that she had slipped whilst looking at the propellers and was then saved by Jack (as she didn't want Cal to know that she had tried to kill herself). Cal prepared to take her back to his room, but Archibald Gracie said that Jack should be given something in return for his good deed. Cal was going to give him a $20 bill, but Rose thought this an insufficient reward. To convince Rose he was a gracious man, he instead invited Jack to dinner in the first class, while privately thinking that the invitation was a chance to publicly shame Jack and accentuate Cal's own grandeur.
As Jack and Rose met again and began to fall in love, Cal initially remained oblivious; however his manservant and bodyguard, Spicer Lovejoy, began to suspect something going on between the two. Jack attended the dinner service in the first class the following night, where he initially went unrecognized by Hockley due to his radically different attire.
During dinner Cal and Ruth did their best to publicly undermine Jack. Cal, however, was more subtle than Ruth, keeping up formalities by properly introducing Jack to the other guests by saying "Mr. Dawson is joining us from the third class". He also downplayed Jack's heroism by merely stating he had been of "some assistance" to Rose.
Later that night, Rose attended a party with Jack in the third class saloon. However, Lovejoy had been spying on them, and saw Rose interchangably dancing with Fabrizio, Jack, and Tommy, which he reported back to Cal.
Titanic disasterThe next morning at breakfast (April 14th), Cal threatened Rose, throwing their breakfast table and stating that she was his "wife in practice, if not yet by law", and demanded that she honor him "the way a wife is required to honor a husband". He ordered her to never see Jack again and left Rose visibly distressed and frightened, and this together with a guilt-trip from Ruth about their financial situation led Rose to avoid Jack. However, a heartfelt speech from Jack led to her later returning to him and kissing him. Rose then disappeared, with Lovejoy unable to locate her. Cal later found a drawing of a nude Rose wearing the Heart of the Ocean along with a mocking note inside the safe. Cal had Lovejoy plant the necklace on Jack when the pair reappeared, then claimed it was lost and had Jack searched. The master-at-arms arrested Jack for theft and had him chained to a pole in the master-at-arms office on E-Deck. Once Jack was taken away, Cal slapped Rose and called her a slut, but before he could continue, he was ordered to go to a lifeboat (as the iceberg had hit by this stage). Cal was with Rose when Thomas Andrews told her that Titanic would sink and she needed to get to a lifeboat as soon as possible so she could escape. Cal, Rose, Ruth and Molly headed to the boat deck, after Cal returned to his cabin with Lovejoy and pocketed some money and the diamond necklace. When the lifeboats were preparing to leave, Ruth asked if the lifeboats would be seated according to class and remarked that she hoped the lifeboats wouldn't be too crowded, to which Cal smiled. Rose was incensed at her mother's lack of sensitivity, and told her that half the people on the ship were going to die, and Cal callously remarked, "Not the better half". Cal then mockingly said that he should have kept Jack's drawing as it would be worth a lot more by morning, implying he thought Jack was going to die. Rose then told Cal exactly how she felt about him, calling him an "unimaginable bastard". When Ruth impatiently told Rose to get into the boat, she tonelessly replied "Goodbye, mother" and walked away. Cal tried to stop her. When he realized she was going to rescue Jack he asked if she really wanted to be "a whore to a gutter rat". Rose replied venomously, "I'd rather be his whore than your wife". Cal tried to physically stop her from leaving but she broke free, spitting in his face just as Jack had taught her earlier. Rose ran through the crowd while Cal stood there appalled. Rose then rescued Jack and both began looking for a way out.
When the Titanic began to sink, Cal was determined to have Rose escape. Jack tried to convince Rose get onto Collapsible D, but she was determined not to go. Despite Cal's hatred for Jack, Cal gave Rose his jacket (forgetting that he had put the necklace in the pocket), saying that she looked a fright. Cal roughly caressed her face but Jack got between them and pulled Rose aside, asking her to get in the boat. Cal convinced Rose to go by saying that he had made an arrangement in which he and Jack could both board a boat, as he had earlier bribed William Murdoch to let him board. Rose went unwillingly onto the lifeboat. Whilst being lowered down, Cal told Jack the arrangement was only for himself and that he always won. Rose soon realized that she couldn't go on without Jack, so she jumped back onto the sinking Titanic in order to stay with him.
Cal became enraged at seeing their emotional reunion on B deck. He took Lovejoy's gun and chased the two down the Grand Staircase down to the flooding Reception Room on D-Deck in an effort to shoot them. The gun quickly ran out of bullets, and he gave up his pursuit after the ship creaked and groaned around him, yelling "I hope you enjoy your time together!" and then remembered that he put the diamond necklace in his coat and he gave it to Rose. He went back on deck and tried to board Collapsible Boat A being filled by Murdoch, however Murdoch had decided against letting him on because of the "Women and Children first/only" rule. When Cal reminded him of the deal, Murdoch replied, "Your money can't save you any more than it could save me." and threw the money back at Cal. A panicked mob of passengers then crowded around the lifeboat but Murdoch held the crowd at gunpoint. Murdoch shot an unknown male passenger who tried to board and then unintentionally shot Thomas Ryan after a passenger shoved him forward, to Cal's shock. Murdoch then killed himself with the gun. Moments later Cal found a lost child and was allowed to board a lifeboat after passing the child off as his own.
As the ship continued to sink, the boat he was on became trapped, due to no-one releasing the lifeboat from its falls, but it was freed when Jack's friend, Fabrizio, cut it loose. A few minutes later Cal witnessed Fabrizio get crushed by one of the massive funnels, after the ropes holding it up snapped due to the strain. Cal was seen shoving back people trying to climb into the boat, saying that they would swamp the boat. He survived the sinking and, whilst waiting for the RMS Carpathia to arrive, he was seen to accept a sip of whiskey from another passenger.
After being rescued, he searched for Rose whilst on the RMS Carpathia, but could not find her and believed she had died in the shipwreck. She had actually escaped but was avoiding him, by hiding her face in a blanket. Rose watched Cal as he searched for her and saw him walk away. It was the last time she ever saw him.
Later life and death
Later in life, Cal inherited his family's millions, then met another woman named Caroline, whom he eventually married and fathered children with. It could be assumed Cal diversified his wealth, but this proved not to protect his assets as his steel company went bankrupt in 1929, and he lost the majority of his holdings in the stock market crash of 1929, b.k.a. "Black Monday". That same year, Cal could not handle the loss of his money and status, and shot himself in the mouth. Rose later read that his widow, children, and other money-grubbing members of the Hockley family "fought like hyenas" over the remnants of Cal's evaporated fortune.
In 1993, 64 years after Cal's death, treasure hunter Brock Lovett began a hunt for his lost necklace. the Heart of the Ocean, but was unsuccessful for 3 years. In 1996, Hockley's room was discovered and his safe recovered, but the diamond was not there. However, Brock found the drawing of Rose that Cal left in the safe. Rose, at age 100, saw it on TV and went to the ship to discuss the events of the sinking. She was proved to be telling the truth about her knowledge of the diamond by saying that the insurance claim would have been made by someone called Hockley.
Skills and abilities
Cal was an exceptional liar, persuading Rose that she must get on the lifeboat and that he would offer Jack safety aboard a lifeboat that he had arranged personally. He also convinced first class passengers that Jack had stolen the Heart of the Ocean necklace from him, having had Lovejoy place it in the artist's pocket beforehand. He was so good that Jack, a skilled liar in his own right, admitted that Cal was better than him. Cal also convinced Henry Wilde that a third class child he found was his own, successfully gaining him acceptance on to a lifeboat.
Cal was able to use a pistol, having the skill to swipe it from Lovejoy and shoot at Jack and Rose; though none of his shots landed. He could also bribe people, managing to use his wealth to pay for passage on to a lifeboat - though Murdoch revoked that privilege when he realised money couldn't save them.
Personality and traits
Hockley was extremely arrogant and narcissistic. Partly due to his status and upbringing, he was a spoiled brat and was used to getting his own way, and despised when this did not happen. When Rose chose Jack over him, he even went as far as attempting to murder them both.
His suicide in the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash illustrates how he built his entire sense of self-worth upon his wealth and status, the only things in life he regarded as being of any value. As a result of being born into wealth, he had a great sense of entitlement, and was unhabituated to any sort of financial hardship or misfortune.
Rose DeWitt Bukater
Hockley was abusive towards his fiancée Rose, emotionally, psychologically and physically. He had no love or respect for her, viewing her only as a trophy wife. Women were considered men's property by society during this time, especially in the upper classes. Cal embodied this to an extreme degree, as evidenced by the way he treated women other than Rose.
He despised Rose for falling for a poor young man instead of him, and was especially enraged when she risked her life by sacrificing her place in a lifeboat to be with Jack – twice. He saw this as an unacceptable expression of agency on her part, highlighting his perception of Rose as a mere object belonging to him.
Rose, in turn, felt only contempt for Cal due to his sociopathic and misogynistic nature. She was suicidal during their engagement, anticipating that Cal would be an oppressive and tyrannical husband.
Although Hockley viewed all third-class passengers with disdain, he especially detested Jack Dawson, at one point referring to him as a "gutter rat". He was jealous of Jack's ability to charm Rose despite his lack of wealth or connections.
He was keen to highlight Jack's lowly status and his lack of importance or influence. Even when Jack was neatly groomed and dressed in a tuxedo for dinner, Hockley only remarked that he could "almost pass for a gentleman". When Jack declined to join some of the first-class men for a brandy in the smoking room, Hockley responded "Probably best. It'll be all business and politics, that sort of thing – wouldn't interest you."
He expressed indifference to the fate of most of the third-class passengers.
Behind the scenes
- He is portrayed by actor Billy Zane. The part was originally offered to Matthew McConaughey.
- In a deleted scene, while using the rowing machine in the gymnastic room, Cal revealed that he went to Harvard University, and implied that he was on the rowing team.
- Caledon and Hockley are two small towns near Orangeville, Ontario, Canada, where James Cameron's aunt and uncle live.
- In an early script of the film, Cal was the one to kill Fabrizio when he tried to get in the lifeboat Cal was in. Cal proceeded to beat Fabrizio to death with the oar.