Blanche Ring

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Blanche Ring
Blanche Ring 001.jpg
New York Star, 1909
BornApril 24, 1871
DiedJanuary 13, 1961(1961-01-13) (aged 89)
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active1887–1945
Spouse(s)Walter F. MacNichol[ citation needed ]
James Walker Jr.
Edward Wentworth
Frederick E. MacKay
Charles Winninger
Relatives Cyril Ring (brother)
A. Edward Sutherland (nephew)

Blanche Ring (April 24, 1871 January 13, 1961) was an American singer and actress in Broadway theatre productions, musicals, [1] and Hollywood motion pictures. [2] She was best known for her rendition of "In the Good Old Summer Time."


Early life and family

Ring was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to James H. Ring and Wilhelmena F. Ring. She came from show business stock. Her father was a comedian for 30 years [3] [4] and her grandfather James H. Ring, was a leading comedian of the Boston Museum company. [5] Her great-great-grandfather, Charles Fisher, was also an actor and came to the United States from England. [6] His wife was Josephine H. Shaw who was also an actress. [7] He journeyed with theatrical caravans as far west as the Mississippi River. Her grandmother was Julie Fisher, a celebrated actress of her time. [8] Her heritage was English-Irish-Scottish. In total, four generations of her ancestors were Shakespearean actors.

Blanche was one of 5 daughters and one son born to the Rings. Several of Blanche's siblings were in the entertainment business and quickly became recognizable names in the industry. In fact, they often performed together or on the same playbill. [9] Two of the Ring sisters, Grace and Sarah, were not performers. [10]

Blanche's sister Julie Ring became a stage actress. Julie married Albert H. Sutherland, [11] a theatrical agent and former British actor. They had a son, A. Edward Sutherland, who became a film director in the United States. Albert H. Sutherland was a Theatrical and Vaudeville Agent in New York City. [12] Julie's second marriage was to actor James Norval on November 9, 1914. [13] They frequently appeared on stage together. [14] She died in 1957. [15]

Her sister Frances Ring [16] was married in 1909 to Thomas Meighan, the popular stage and later silent film actor.

The Ring sisters' younger brother, Cyril Ring, was a freelance actor. He was the first husband of actress Charlotte Greenwood. He later married Ziegfeld Follies girl Molly Green in 1923; [17] they had two daughters.


In The Good Old Summer Time - Cover - Blanche Ring InTheGoodOldSummerTimeCoverBlancheRing.jpeg
In The Good Old Summer Time - Cover - Blanche Ring


Miss Ring made her debut at age 16 in A Parisian Romance in 1887 with Shakespearean actor Richard Mansfield's theatrical company. Later she acted with Nat Goodwin and Chauncey Olcott.

Her version of "In the Good Old Summertime" in 1902 was an instant hit. [4] She followed this with another hit song "The Belle of Avenue A", performed in Tommy Rot, which was staged at Mrs. Osborn's Playhouse in New York City. Ring left the US for a tour of Europe including London, returning to America in 1904 where she became even more established as a favorite performer appearing at three notable venues belonging to vaudeville impresario F.F. Proctor including Proctor's Twenty-third Street Theater, Newark Theater and Fifth Avenue Theater. [18]

"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." [19] 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 talent for mime. This helped her advance in musical revues and she was billed as "America's Favorite Singing Comedienne" as of 1918. [20] 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 appeared as Mrs. Grace Draper in Strike Up the Band (1930) and she played Josie Huggins inRight This Way (1938).


On the dramatic stage she appeared in Cradle Snatchers and as Mrs. Hawthorne in The Great Necker (1928).

Her final stage performance was in her role as Rose Bertin in Madame Capet (1938); the production starred Eva Le Gallienne.


Ring went to Hollywood in 1916 to star in the silent film The Yankee Girl . She has a brief role in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde . She acted in the motion picture It's the Old Army Game (directed by her nephew Eddie Sutherland) with W.C. Fields in 1926.

In 1940, Ring appeared as one of the featured vaudeville greats in the Bing Crosby picture, If I Had My Way (1940).

Personal life


The singer's personal life was tumultuous and not without scandal. In all, Blanche Ring was married five times and by her own admission she separated from several of her husbands for various reasons. [21] All of Ring's marriages ended in divorce.

In the summer, Ring gravitated to nearby Westchester County for golf and the beaches. She liked to entertain fellow thespians and was known for throwing house parties attended by the likes of Douglas Fairbanks and Eddie Foy Sr.. [24] [25] At one time, Ring shared a home in Rye, New York with Winninger [26] at 30 Oakland Beach Avenue where she remained until at least 1935. [21] Previous to living in Rye, Ring had a country home in Mamaroneck [24] across from the actress Ethel Barrymore [3] and another in Larchmont at 28 Oak Avenue. [27]

Ring left New York in 1959 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.


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.

Blanche's nieces and nephews followed the family's tradition for careers in theater and music. Her great-niece is conductor Jane Ring Frank.


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). [28]

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  1. "Blanche Ring". Playbill. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  2. "Blanche Ring, Early Star of Musicals, Dies". Los Angeles Times. January 15, 1961. p. 18.
  3. 1 2 "Blanche Ring Tells the Secret of How She Makes Her Audiences Sing With Her". New York Press. March 8, 1914. p. 3.
  4. 1 2 3 "Blanche Ring, 89, Stage Star, Dies". New York Times. January 15, 1961. p. 86.
  5. "Death of Mr. James H. Ring". Jun 19, 1882. The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  6. "Noted Actor Dead. Charles Fisher Taken from the Stage by Eryspilelas". The Boston Globe. June 12, 1891. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  7. "Charles Fisher Weds". The Boston Globe. June 19, 1876. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  8. "Ring Dies of Auto Injury In New York". Boston Globe. November 28, 1924. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  9. "Blanche Ring Returns to the Stage". Rye, New York, NY: The Rye Chronicle. March 19, 1932. p. 13.
  10. "Grace Ring Dunham". New York: The New York Herald. July 15, 1915.
  11. "Albert H. Sutherland". New York, NY: New York Daily Tribune Press. February 22, 1911.
  12. "A. H. Sutherland Dead". Fall River Daily Evening News. February 21, 1911. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  13. "U.S. Passport Applications". . Retrieved November 1, 2020.External link in |website= (help)
  14. "Julie Ring Pays First Visit to Houston as Vaudeville Star". The Houston Post. December 22, 1915. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  15. California Death Index. "Julie Ring Norval". Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  16. 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)
  17. John Willis (1983). Screen World 1968. Connecticut: Biblo & Tannen. p. 238.
  18. "Theatrical News". White Plains, NY: The Eastern State Journal. May 28, 1904.
  19. "Blanche Ring "I've Got Rings On My Fingers" on Victor 60016 (1909) LYRICS". Tim Gracyk. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  20. B.F. Keith's Palace (September 28, 1918). "Engagement de Luxe". Larchmont, NY: The Larchmonter-Times.
  21. 1 2 Harriet Menken (December 1, 1935). "PERSONALITIES Interviewing Blanche Ring-News and Views Along the Radio Rialto". Albany: The Times-Union.
  22. "WOULD DIVORCE BLANCHE RING.Walker, Boston Husband, Sues and News of Marriage Is a Surprise". New York, NY: The New York Press. August 18, 1904.
  23. "Chas. Winninger Married Yesterday". The Sheboygan Press. Wisconsin, Sheboygan. November 13, 1912. p. 8. Retrieved April 22, 2018 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  24. 1 2 "Blanche Ring, A Hale and Hearty Star". The New York Dramatic Mirror. August 16, 1911. p. 5.
  25. "Blanche Ring Entertains". The New York Dramatic Mirror. August 13, 1910. p. 8.
  26. "Two to New York". Rye Chronicle. March 3, 1928. p. 10.
  27. "Stars of Stage and Screen Had Homes in Old Larchmont". Larchmont: The Larchmont Times. November 17, 1949.
  28. Great Stars of the American Stage by Daniel Blum Profile #50, 1952 (this 2nd edition, 1954)