Clara Blandick was an American actress born as Clara Dickey and born aboard an American ship off the coast of Hong Kong on June 4, 1880. Little is known about her early life until she became an actress. Although she appeared in 118 films, she was primarily a stage actress. She began her film career at a late age. She was 33 when she was picked for the role as Emily Mason in Mrs. Black Is Back (1914). Her next film was The Stolen Triumph (1916), after which she returned to the stage, where she seemed more comfortable. She did not make another film until the age of 48, when she appeared in Poor Aubrey (1930).
She had only three films under her belt by this time but would appear in more than 100 over the next 20 years. She made nine films in 1930, and thirteen the following year. The role that was to immortalize her, however, was “Auntie Em” in The Wizard of Oz (1939). She continued in films until 1950, when she appeared on the screen for the final time in Key to the City (1950).
By this time Blandick had been suffering from poor health for years, especially painful arthritis, and retired from the screen. On Palm Sunday, April 15, 1962, aged 85, she went to church in Hollywood. When she returned she wrote a note stating she was about to take the greatest adventure of her life. She took an overdose of sleeping tablets and pulled a plastic bag over her head, thus ending her life.
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