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Clarice Blackburn (February 26, 1921 – August 5, 1995) was an American actress who portrayed three different characters on Dark Shadows. She was born in San Francisco, California but because her father was a salesman, Blackburn and her family moved around a great deal and made their home in Wisconsin, Arizona, Louisiana and Texas after California.
She earned a Bachelor's Degree in speech and drama at the Texas State College for Women, then made her professional debut in 1947 on Martha's Vineyard in The Circle of Chalk. An outstanding performance in an Equity Library Theater production of The Great Big Doorstep in 1950 led to a job as understudy for Eva Gabor in The Happy Time on Broadway. The Happy Time starred Shirley Booth, with whom Clarice would appear again on Broadway in The Desk Set in 1955. Clarice's other stage credits included a lead role in a 1953 revival of The Glass Harp, a critically acclaimed lead in American Gothic, also in 1953 and also performed at Circle in the Square; The Infernal Machine in 1958; Juno on Broadway in 1959; The Miracle Worker on Broadway in 1961; and The Queen and the Rebels and Good Day, both in 1965. During the 1965–66 season, Clarice won an Obie Award for Distinguished Performance as Sara Calendar in The Exhaustion of Our Son's Love.
Blackburn had extensive experience acting in the soap opera genre. She played a baby nurse & a college dean on the CBS soap opera Love of Life in the early 1960s. She played Theodora Rostand on NBC's soap opera The Doctors from 1965 to 1966, then moved on to ABC's Dark Shadows in the fall of 1966 and over the course of the next four years would play three different characters: Mrs. Sarah Johnson, Abigail Collins and Minerva Trask. When her appearances on the show began to lessen, she gladly accepted the opportunity to create the role of Mary Lou Northcote on the CBS soap opera The Secret Storm during the first half of 1970. Blackburn made a few additional appearances on Dark Shadows, making her final appearance in September, 1970. Even before she made her final appearance on Dark Shadows, Blackburn signed a long term contract to play Amy Snowden on CBS's Where the Heart Is, a role she played until the series left the air in 1973.
She moved over to One Life to Live on ABC playing Hattie Frederichs, then back to CBS to As the World Turns playing Marion Connelly, R.N. and finally to Guiding Light where she played Edith Spurrier. In addition to the soaps, Blackburn guest starred in an episode of The Eternal Light entitled "A Field of Buttercups" in 1969 and on a Saturday morning children's special, Toby, in 1970. She also guest starred in an episode of the late night TV series Directions.
During the 1974–1975 season, Blackburn guest-starred in at least five episodes of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater series.
Blackburn's primetime TV credits include guest roles on The Defenders, The Nurses, East Side/West Side, Armstrong Circle Theatre, Dupont Show of the Month, U.S. Steel Hour, Robert Montgomery Presents, The Big Story, Kraft Theatre, Studio One, N.Y.P.D. and the 1967 Xerox TV drama special The Crucible.
Blackburn appeared in the motion pictures The Violators, Pretty Poison, Night of Dark Shadows and Man on a Swing. Clarice was asked to bring her Dark Shadows character, Mrs. Johnson, to the big screen in House of Dark Shadows, but at the time she was under contract to The Secret Storm and her schedule on the soap was too heavy for her to get away for the filming. The role was instead played by actress Barbara Cason, who was married to Dark Shadows actor Dennis Patrick.