Blanche Sweet

Blanche Sweet


Blanche Sweet
Film: West side of the 1700 block of Vine Street
Born Sarah Blanche Sweet on June 18, 1896 in Chicago, Ill.
Died Sept. 6, 1986 of stroke in New York, NY

Blanche Sweet made her first stage appearance in 1898 and later became a major star of silent films.

Miss Sweet made 124 motion pictures, all but three of them silent films. Her first was "The Man With Three Wives" in 1909. She became a star in 1914 in director D. W. Griffith's "Judith of Bethulia," one of the first feature-length films made in this country.

Film historians rate her as a pioneering and exceptionally versatile motion picture actress. Film writer Anthony Slide characterized hers as "a curious career replete with highlights, falls from favor and inexplicable absences from the screen."

In 1923 she starred in "Anna Christie," the first film version of the Eugene O'Neill play, scoring what Slide called "a major dramatic success." But there followed a series of minor films, excepting only "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" in 1925.

Despite her professionalism, her film career effectively ended in 1930 with "The Silver Horde," although she later toured in vaudeville and performed on Broadway in "The Party's Over" and "The Petrified Forest." In the 1950s she worked as a clerk in a New York department store. In 1959, she had a bit part in the Danny Kaye movie "The Five Pennies."

She made a comeback of sorts in 1978, appearing as herself in a documentary "Portrait of Blanche," and appeared four years later in "Before the Nickelodeon," a documentary about the first days of motion pictures.

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