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Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in Houston, Texas, USA
Died in Agadir, Morocco  (road accident)
Birth NameIvan Lawrence Blieden

Mini Bio (1)

Genial, dark-haired, often bespectacled Ivan Lawrence Blieden (pronounced Blee-den), better known as actor Larry Blyden, was born in Houston, Texas, the son of a lawyer. He developed an early interest in acting, appearing in various theater productions as a teen but never entertained the notion of pursuing a career. Following a stint with the Marine Corps, however, he went to college at the University of Houston and supplemented his income with a job as a local radio announcer, finding himself highly proficient at foreign accents. Bitten by the acting bug, he decided to give performing a serious try this time, first training at London's Royal Academy of Arts, then moving to New York. It was Broadway that subsequently gave Larry marquee value, contributing strongly to a string of successes. These included not only such staple comedies as "Mr. Roberts", "Oh Men! Oh Women!" and "Absurd Person Singular", but the musicals "Flower Drum Song" (Tony nomination), "The Apple Tree" and "A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum", the last earning him the Tony award in 1972. In the early 1950s Larry was initially a noticeable presence in TV drama, but, as his career progressed, he found a more comfortable niche in breezy comedy. He even landed a couple of his own sitcoms Joe & Mabel (1956) and Harry's Girls (1963), short-lived as they were. Larry projected a very temperate, clean-cut image which some critics deemed as bland. As a result, film roles were scarce - three to be exact: Kiss Them for Me (1957) starring Cary Grant and Jayne Mansfield, The Bachelor Party (1957) with Don Murray and Carolyn Jones, and Barbra Streisand's On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970). Larry was also a big game show enthusiast and was seen frequently as a panelist on Password All-Stars (1961) and To Tell the Truth (1969), among many others. In 1972, he became a familiar daytime face after replacing Wally Bruner as host of the syndicated What's My Line? (1968). Larry married Bob Fosse dancer/extraordinaire Carol Haney in 1955. They remained a popular Gotham couple until their split seven years later. Haney, who was pure electric in the Broadway and film versions of "The Pajama Game", was a severe diabetic and died suddenly at age 39 in 1964, two years after their divorce. This left Blyden a single parent with two children to raise. He never remarried. Blyden himself died fairly young, killed in a car accident while traveling in Morocco. He was only 49. Highly personable and modestly unassuming, Larry Blyden may not have hit the heights, but he was a recognizable name and a durable talent - one of Broadway's brighter lights for over two decades.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (1)

Carol Haney (17 April 1955 - 11 August 1962) (divorced) (2 children)

Trivia (6)

A rabid collector of antiquities, who would often travel to the furtherest corners of the world in pursuit of a find, Blyden was investigating just such a dig in Morocco when he was killed at the age of 49. According to former co-star Dina Merrill he was carjacked by bandits who killed him and took the car and his valuables. Because there was no identification on the body, his family did not learn of the tragedy for several days afterward.
Had two children: Joshua Blyden (born in 1957, and named after Joshua Logan) and Ellen (born 1960).
Won a Tony Award as best supporting or featured actor (musical) for the 1972 revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He was also nominated as best actor (musical) in 1959 for Flower Drum Song, and as best supporting or featured actor (drama) in 1975 for Absurd Person Singular.
A close friend since boyhood of actor Rip Torn. Friends back in Texas referred to the two boys as Torn and Bleedin' (Blieden).
He was awarded the 1972 Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," on Broadway in New York City.
Father: Adolph Blieden; Mother: Marian Davidson.

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