June 18, 1887|
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died||June 6, 1974
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Ian Keith (1922–26) (divorced)|
Blanche Yurka (June 18, 1887 – June 6, 1974) was an American theatre and film actress.
Born in St Paul, Minnesota, Yurka was an opera singer, with minor roles at the Met, before she became an actress. She made her Broadway debut in 1910 and established herself as a character actor, also appearing in several films. In addition to her many stage roles, including Queen Gertrude opposite John Barrymore's Hamlet, she was an occasional director and playwright. She remained active in theatre and film until the late 1960s.
Her most famous film role was as Madame Defarge in MGM's 1935 version of A Tale of Two Cities (1935), but she was also the compassionate aunt in The Song of Bernadette. Another memorable role was in The Southerner.
Once married to actor Ian Keith, Yurka died in 1974 of arteriosclerosis. She is interred in the Actors Fund of America at Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, NY. She is survived by her great-nephew Edward Starkins of Canada, author of the book Who Killed Janet Smith?
- Blanche Yurka at the Internet Movie Database
- Blanche Yurka at the Internet Broadway Database
- Blanche Yurka at Find a Grave
- Blanche Yurka discography at Folkways Records
- Blanche Yurka diary
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