Blanche Ring

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Blanche Ring
Blanche Ring 001.jpg
Born April 24, 1871
Boston, Massachusetts
Died January 13, 1961 (aged 89)
Santa Monica, California
Occupation actress
singer
Years active 1887-1945
Spouse(s) Walter MacNichols
James Walker Jr.
Frederick E. MacKay
Charles Winninger

Blanche Ring (April 24, 1871 – January 13, 1961), was an American singer and actress in Broadway theatre productions, musicals, and Hollywood motion pictures.

Blanche Ring was born in Boston, Massachusetts. In John Parker's Who's Who In The Theatre (eleventh edition) she listed 1877 as the year of her birth rather than 1871, which was correct. This was done for business reasons.

Blanche was a granddaughter of James H. Ring, a leading comedian of the Boston Museum company. Her great-great-grandfather, Charles Fisher, came to this country from England. He journeyed with theatrical caravans as far west as the Mississippi River. Her heritage was English-Irish-Scottish. Four generations of her ancestors were Shakespearean actors. Her great niece is conductor Jane Ring Frank.

Singer In Theater[edit]

Miss Ring made her debut at sixteen in A Parisian Romance, with Richard Mansfield. Later she acted with Nat Goodwin and Chauncey Olcott. In 1902 she had great success with "In The Good Old Summertime", and followed this with another hit song, "The Belle of Avenue A", performed in Tommy Rot. Tommy Rot was staged at Mrs. Osborn's Playhouse in New York City. "I've Got Rings On My Fingers" was introduced when Blanche performed in The Midnight Sons in 1909. Her recording of the song for Victor Records is listed as one of Billboard's top hits of that year, along with her recordings of "Yip-I-Addy-I-Aye" and "The Billiken Man." Will Rogers spoke his first lines on stage in Ring's play The Wall Street Girl. In 1910 she recorded Come Josephine In My Flying Machine after introducing it in a Broadway show and the song became one of her biggest hits.

Among her other songs of note include "Bedelia" and "I'd Leave My Happy Home For You". The former was featured in The Jersey Lilly. During World War I the singer was popular with "They're All Out Of Step But Jim".

Blanche possessed a fine talent for mime. This helped her advance in musical revues. Her impersonations were paired with those of Charles Winninger in the Passing Show of 1919, performed at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City.

Film[edit]

Miss Ring came to Hollywood in 1916 to star in the silent film The Yankee Girl. She acted in the motion picture It's the Old Army Game (directed by her nephew Eddie Sutherland) with W.C. Fields in 1926. On the stage she appeared in The Great Necker, among others. She came back to make such musicals as Right This Way and Strike Up The Band.

Her final stage performance was in New York in 1938, a role in Madame Capet, which starred Eva Le Gallienne. She died in Santa Monica, California.

Personal life[edit]

The singer was married four times

  • Walter F. MacNichol
  • James Walker Jr.
  • Frederick Edward McKay, theatrical manager
  • Charles Winninger

All of the marriages ended in divorce; she bore no children in her early marriages as she would have been beyond child bearing age in her fiftys when she married Winninger. Ring left New York in 1959.

Her sister Frances Ring (July 4, 1882 - January 15, 1951),[1] was married to the popular stage and later silent film actor Thomas Meighan in 1909.

Her sister Julie Ring (1878-19??) was a stage actress and the mother of film director A. Edward Sutherland.

Her younger brother, Cyril Ring, was the first husband of actress Charlotte Greenwood (1916–1922).

Her great niece is conductor Jane Ring Frank.

Hollywood[edit]

In 1940, she was one of the featured vaudeville greats in the Bing Crosby picture, If I Had My Way (1940). She went to live in Hollywood with her brother, Cyril. In May 1960 she attended a reunion of former Ziegfeld Follies girls. Blanche was an honorary member of the Ziegfeld Club, though she never worked for Flo Ziegfeld.

Blanche Ring died in a nursing home in Santa Monica, California in 1961, aged 89. She had been in poor health for two years following a stroke in 1958. Her interment was in Holy Cross Cemetery, following a rosary which was recited in the Church of the Good Shepherd, in Beverly Hills, California.

Note[edit]

In the film Somewhere in Time (1980), Christopher Reeve plays a journalist who researches a fictional Edwardian actress in a hotel's library, and finds some theatrical photos. Reeve pulls out a photo of three little girls together. The girls are Blanche Ring and her sisters Julie and Frances. The same photo appears under Blanche Ring's biography in Daniel Blum's book Great Stars of the American Stage (1954).[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Who Was Who in the Theatre: 1912-1976 Gale Research(compilation of John Parker's Who's Who in the Theatre series originally published annually)
  2. ^ Great Stars of the American Stage by Daniel Blum Profile #50, 1952 (this 2nd edition, 1954)
  • Los Angeles Times, 'Blanche Ring, Early Star of Musicals, Dies' (January 15, 1961) page 18
  • New York Times, 'Blanche Ring, 89, Stage Star, Dies' (January 15, 1961) page 86

External links[edit]