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Blanche Walsh

February 19, 2013

Blanche Walsh (1873-1915)
American actress
(photo: unknown, USA, circa 1898)

This real photograph cigarette card is of the well-known American actress Blanche Walsh. It was issued in England with Ogden’s Guinea Gold Cigarettes about 1900.

‘WALSH, Miss Blanche (Mrs. W.M. Travers):
‘Actress, was born in New York January 4, 1873, her father being the late Thomas Power Walsh, at one time warden of the Tombs. Miss Walsh was graduated from Public School No.50 in 1886. She had long desired a stage career, and a year after her graduation she made her first amateur appearance at a benefit performance at the Windsor Theatre on the Bowery. She played Desdemona. Her début on the professional stage was made before she was sixteen years old with Thomas McDonough, in the melodrama Siberia. Her next engagement was with Marie Wainwright, with whom she remained for three seasons, appearing as Olivia in Twelfth Night, Zamora in The Honeymoon, Florench Marygold in My Uncle’s Will, Madeline in Frederic Lemaitre, Grace Harkaway in London Assurance, and Queen Elizabeth in Amy Robsart. She then went under the management of Charles Frohman, creating the rôle of Diana Stockton in Bronson Howard’s Aristocracy in 1892. After appearing as Kate Kennion in The Girl I Left Behind Me, she became Nat Goodwin’s leading woman, playing with him in A Gilded Fool, In Mizzoura, David Garrick, The Nominee, The Gold Mine, and Lend Me Five Shillings. As the leading woman of a summer stock company in Washington, D.C., she appeared in Pink Dominoes, My Awful Dad, American Assurance, My Wife’s Mother, and Romeo’s First Love. In 1895 she acted the adventuress, Mrs. Bulford, in The Great Diamond Robbery, and in November of the same year, when Virginia Harned became suddenly ill, took her place as Trilby in [George] Du Maurier’s play, continuing in it until the end of the season. The next season she was again Nat Goodwin’s leading woman, accompanying him on an Australian tour, and appearing, in addition to the rôles already played with him, as Lydia Languish in The Rivals, and Louise in Gringoire. On her return to New York she joined A.M. Palmer’s stock company, creating the rôle of Margaret Neville in Heartsease in October, 1896. She next played a dual rôle, brother and sister, in Straight From the Heart. After one rehearsal she took the heroine rôle, Edith Varney, in William Gillette’s Secret Service, and went with the company to the Adelphi Theatre, London, in May, 1897. Following an engagement with Sol Smith Russell in A Bachelor’s Romance at the Garden Theatre, New York, she became a member of the Empire Theatre Stock Company in January, 1898, to play Jeanne Marie in The Conquerors. In 1899 she gave up the place of leading woman in the Manhattan Beach Stock Company of Denver, Col., to star with Melbourne MacDowell in the repertoire of the Sardou plays which made Fanny Davenport famous. As Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra, as Fedora and as La Tosca she made her mark as a tragedy actress. After several seasons she and Mr. MacDowell severed their association, and in 1903-04 she starred in a dramatization of Tolstoy’s Resurrection. The season of 1904-5 she was seen in The Woman in the Case. She opened the fall of 1906 in a dramatization of Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata and toured in it. The seasons of 1907-8 she starred in The Straight Road. Miss Walsh married W.M. Travers in 1906. Her home is The Lilacs, at Great Neck, Long Island, N.Y.’
(Walter Browne and E. De Roy Koch, editors, Who’s Who on the Stage 1908, B.W. Dodge & Co, New York, 1908, pp.438-440)

‘Blanche Walsh, the famous actress, died at Lakeside hospital, Cleveland, a martyr to her profession.
‘At the close of a vaudeville engagement here two weeks ago Miss Walsh was operated on for appendicitis. Before she had recovered she insisted on going to Youngstown to fulfil an engagement. She collapsed there and was brought back here a week ago.
‘Miss Walsh first became ill while playing in Toledo five weeks ago. She played a week in Pittsburgh under a physician’s care and then came her in The Spoils of War. According to her husband, W.M. Travers, she suffered intensely and only finished the engagement so as not to disappoint her audience.’
(The Fort Wayne News, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Thursday, 4 November 1915, p.6a)

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