|Born||April 24, 1871
|Died||January 13, 1961 (aged 89)
Santa Monica, California
James Walker Jr.
Frederick E. MacKay
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 the United States 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
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 are "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 Ring 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.
Ring went 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 returned to New York to perform in such musicals as Right This Way and Strike Up The Band.
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. When she married Winninger she was in her 50s and past child bearing. Ring left New York in 1959.
Her great-niece is conductor Jane Ring Frank.
In 1940, Ring appeared as one of the featured vaudeville greats in the Bing Crosby picture, If I Had My Way (1940). She left New York to live in Hollywood with her brother, Cyril. In May 1960 she attended a reunion of former Ziegfeld Follies girls. Blanche Ring 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.
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).
- 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)
- 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
- Works by or about Blanche Ring at Internet Archive
- Blanche Ring at the Internet Movie Database
- Blanche Ring at the Internet Broadway Database
- Collected Recordings of Blanche Ring
- Blanche Ring at Find a Grave
- Photo of Blanche Ring at Moviecard
- Blanche Ring on the cover of THE THEATRE magazine September 1910
- Blanche Ring; Victor discography, complete Catalog
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