Blanche Walsh

Blanche Walsh (January 4, 1873 – October 31, 1915)[1] was a highly regarded American stage actress who appeared in one film, Resurrection based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy and the first three reel treatment of any Tolstoy story.[2]

Blanche Walsh
Blanche Walsh (1901)
Born(1873-01-04)January 4, 1873
DiedOctober 31, 1915(1915-10-31) (aged 42)
Years active1888–1915
Alfred Hickman
(m. 1896; div. 1903)

William Travers (m. 1906)


Walsh's father was Thomas Power "Fatty" Walsh, a Tammany politician and a prison warden.[3] She made her stage debut at 15 in 1888 and acted in Charles Frohman's stock company. Walsh trooped for years in support of bigger names like Marie Wainwright, William Gillette and Nat C. Goodwin. In 1896 she accompanied Goodwin on a tour of Australia in Trilby.[4]

Walsh began picking up the emotional roles that Fanny Davenport had been playing, as Davenport was ill for a time prior to her 1898 death. Walsh was much younger than Davenport but bore a strong resemblance to her. After several years apprenticing in the emotional roles, Walsh moved up to more challenging parts such as Maslova the prostitute in Tolstoy's Resurrection and Margaret Rolfe in The Woman in the Case. She also starred in a production of Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata in 1904.

An early silent short film from 1905 by Thomas Edison shows a theatre marquee announcing a Blanche Walsh appearance in a play. Walsh's name is in big bold letters but she doesn't appear anywhere in the film. In 1912 Walsh agreed to do one motion picture for an independent film company, a film adaptation of the Tolstoy play she had been acting in on the stage, Resurrection.[5] The film would be distributed through Adolph Zukor's new Famous Players company. This came around the same time that Zukor was showing Queen Elizabeth, a feature-length French film, starring Sarah Bernhardt. Zukor's aim was to lure big name Broadway stars to make feature films, films that are over 50 minutes. Walsh was one of the first major stage stars to make a film over 30 minutes long. Today Resurrection is a lost film.[6]

Personal life

Walsh was married to Alfred Hickman from 1896 to 1903. Walsh remarried to William Travers in 1906, with whom she remained married to until her death. She had no children.[7]


Walsh like Fanny Davenport seemed to be plagued by health problems.[8] Contemporary newspaper accounts register her occasional hospitalizations.[9] Walsh died on October 31, 1915, after a final bout with her kidney problems. Her sudden death was a shock to theater goers and journalists alike.[10]


  1. Blanche Walsh Traver;
  2. Blanche Walsh: North American Theatre Online
  3. William C. Young (ca. 1975) Famous Actors and Actresses On The American Stage vol.2 K-Z
  4. Who Was Who in the Theatre: 1912-1976 c.1976 Gale Research Company
  5. PICTORIAL HISTORY OF THE SILENT FILM by Daniel Blum c.1953 pg.27
  6. Resurrection at
  7. Young, page 1128
  8. New York Times BLANCHE WALSH ILL;Nervous Collapse in St. Louis Prevents Matinee... Thursday December 27, 1906
  9. New York Times BLANCHE WALSH LEAVES HOSPITAL Tuesday March 2, 1909
  10. New York TimesBLANCHE WALSH DIES AFTER OPERATION; Expires in a Cleveland Hospital... Monday November 1, 1915
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