Blanche Baker

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Blanche Baker
Blanche Baker.jpg
Blanche Baker in a 2007 performance of The Vietnamization of New Jersey
Born Blanche Garfein
(1956-12-20) December 20, 1956 (age 58)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1978–present
Spouse(s) Bruce Van Dusen (m. 1983–2002)
Mark Magill (m. 2003)
Children Zane Van Dusen
Dara Van Dusen
Wynn Van Dusen
James Magill

Blanche Baker (born December 20, 1956) is an American actress.

Personal life[edit]

Born Blanche Garfein in New York City, she is the daughter of actress Carroll Baker and director Jack Garfein. Her father is a Czech Jew, who survived the Holocaust; and her mother converted to Judaism. She attended Wellesley College (1974-76).



Blanche Baker made her television debut playing the character Anna Weiss in the miniseries Holocaust. (Her father Jack Garfein was a Holocaust survivor who had been imprisoned in Auschwitz. She won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Series in 1978 for her performance.

She has subsequently appeared in the TV movies Mary and Joseph: A Story of Faith (1979) as Mary, The Day the Bubble Burst (1982), The Awakening of Candra (1983) as Candra Torres, Embassy (1985), Nobody's Child (1986), and Taking Chance (2009). She also has appeared on many TV series.


In 1980-81, she originated the lead role of a 12-year-old girl loved by a pedophile in Edward Albee's stage adaption of Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita. During out-of-town tryouts and in New York, the play was picketed by feminists, including Women Against Pornography, who were outraged by the theme of pedophilia.[1]

The troubled production opened on Broadway on March 19, 1981 after 31 previews and closed after only 12 performances.[2] Frank Rich of the New York Times gave the play a bad review, terming it "the kind of embarrassment that audiences do not quickly forget or forgive." Baker was mentioned by Rich in only one line. "In the title role, here a minor figure, the 24-year-old Miss Baker does a clever job of impersonating the downy nymphet; she deserves a more substantial stage vehicle soon."[3]

People Magazine called Albee's Lolita "Broadway's Bomb of the Year" in an April 16, 1981 story.[4] Baker was the real subject of the article, and People writer Mark Donovan said "the critics were almost unanimous on one point: Blanche Baker was an ingenue whose time had come," citing reviews of critics that had called her "Breathtaking" and "Beguiling."

However, despite the praise of critics, Baker has never appeared on Broadway again.


Baker made her movie debut in the The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979). Other film appearances include Sixteen Candles (1984), Cold Feet (1984) and Taking Chance (2009).


Year Title Role Notes
1979 French Postcards Laura
1979 Seduction of Joe Tynan, TheThe Seduction of Joe Tynan Janet
1982 The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet Juliet
1984 Cold Feet Leslie Christo
1984 Sixteen Candles Ginny
1986 Raw Deal Amy Kaminski
1988 Shakedown Gail Feinberger
1988 Bum Rap Lisa DuSoir
1990 Handmaid's Tale, TheThe Handmaid's Tale Ofglen
1991 Livin' Large Kate Penndragin
1994 Dead Funny Barbara
2006 Underdogs Marie
2006 Rehearsal, TheThe Rehearsal Marie
2007 Girl Next Door, TheThe Girl Next Door Ruth Chandler
2008 3rd of July Mrs. Shaw
2008 Jersey Justice Polly O'Bannon
2012 Hypothermia Hellen Pelletier
2014 Wishin' and Hopin' Sister Filomena TV Movie
Year Title Role Notes
1979 Holocaust Anna Weiss Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1979 Mary and Joseph: A Story of Faith Mary
1981 Awakening of Candra, TheThe Awakening of Candra Candra Torres
1982 Day the Bubble Burst, TheThe Day the Bubble Burst Joan Slezsak
1985 Equalizer, TheThe Equalizer Allison Webster Episode: "Desperately"
1985 Embassy Megan Hillyer
1986 Nobody's Child Shari
1987 Spenser: For Hire Carolyn Tomlinson Episode: "Personal Demons"
1991 Trials of Rosie O'Neill, TheThe Trials of Rosie O'Neill Episode: "Domestic Silence"
1991 Davis Rules Episode: "Everybody Comes to Nick's"
1992 In the Heat of the Night Jenny Sawyer Episode: "Love, Honor & Obey"
1992 Law & Order Lucy Neven Episode: "Star Struck"
1994 Clarissa Explains It All Chelsea Chipley Episode: "Janet and Clarissa, Inc."
2005 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Miriam Engles Episode: "Diamond Dogs"
2013 The Chris Gethard Show Herself Episode: "#119: Scare the Shit Out of Bethany"


  1. ^ Devries, Hillary. "Protesters to picket 'Lolita'". Christian Science Monitor. Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Lolita". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  3. ^ Rich, Frank. "STAGE: ALBEE'S ADAPTATION OF 'LOLITA' OPENS". New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  4. ^ Donovan, Mark. "Lolita, Broadway's Bomb of the Year, Detonates Edward Albee, Bemuses Donald Sutherland and Illuminates a Lovely Survivor, Blanche Baker". Time-Life. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 

External links[edit]