Exclusive DSO Feature:
Clarice Blackburn played a murderess Off-Broadway opposite "Edith Bunker"

In 1953, Clarice Blackburn starred Off-Broadway in American Gothic, alongside Jason Robards Jr. and Jean Stapleton (later Edith Bunker on the TV classic All in the Family). Set in 1890s New England, the plot sounds a bit like a Dark Shadows storyline: Clarice played Addie, an abandoned wife who stalks into the christening of her ex-husband’s new child and and murders the new wife and the infant. She received glowing reviews as the mentally unbalanced, discarded woman. Jean Stapleton played Addie’s overbearing mother. (On Dark Shadows, clarice played Collinwood housekeeper Mrs. Johnson.)

Crictics loved Clarice:

Walter Kerr of the New York Times wrote that she was “especially successful in her determination that the madness which has overtaken many a New England housewife shall here be lightly, almost imperceptibly developed. Her exhilaration when she has dared walk into town and meet the woman who has replaced her face to face, and her glancing smile when she hears that a baby has been born, are attractive, telling, and quite unpredictable flashes of insight.”

Thomas R. Dash of Women’s Wear Daily wrote, “Miss Blackburn succeeds in evoking the loneliness of this sullen and morose girl.”

And Brooklyn Eagle critic Louis Sheaffer said he found the story unconvincing, but “such is the conviction and poignant force of Clarice Blackburn’s acting that I believe her.”

Read Clarice Blackburn's bio.


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