DECEMBER 5: Blyth Daly (1901-1965)

365daysoflesbians:

The Broadway actress Blyth Daly was born on this day in 1901. Despite being a regular of the stage and also appearing in several early films, Blyth is most well-known for her connection to the underground lesbian scene of early 20th century New York City. 

Most of Blyth’s film roles are as unnamed background characters from the early days of silent film (x).

Blyth Daly was born on December 5, 1901 in London, England. Her father was the successful stage actor Arnold Daly, whcih introduced her to the entertainment world from a very early age. Her father and mother, Mary Blyth for whom she is named, had a very volatile relationship and would divorce and then remarry over the course of Blyth’s childhood. Her mother would eventually remarry Frank Craven in 1915, a popular actor in Broadway circles of the day most well-known for his role in the original production of “Our Town.” It was Craven who encouraged Blyth to pursue an acting career of her own. 

Although she began her career in Hollywood, Blyth eventually moved to New York City. She made a name for herself as a member of the “Algonquin Round Table,” a group of writers, actors, and artists who met regularly at Manhattan’s Algonquin Hotel. The meetings began taking place in 1919 and were led by the Algonquin Hotel manager Frank Case. Blyth was known for tagging along to meetings with her friends Tallulah Bankhead, Harpo Marx, and Edna Ferber and the four became known as  "The Four Riders of the Algonquin.“ Outside of her stage work, Blyth is also credited with roles in over 6 films including A Star is Born, Her Man, and That’s Gratitude.

Blyth’s sexuality has long been a point of contention; it is not clear if she would have identified as lesbian or bisexual, but it is known that she spent her life loving women. She was close friends with the actresses Tallulah Bankhead and Eva Le Gallienne for many years and it was even rumored that she and Eve had an affair at some point. Despite the three’s tight knit bond, Blyth’s career was the only on out the three to never fully take off. She would pass away relatively unknown on October 6, 1965 in Los Angeles.

-LC