BLANK, LEON (1867–1934), Yiddish actor. Born in Lithuania, Blank and his family subsequently moved to Romania. He sang in synagogue choirs as a child but was attracted to Yiddish theater. He reached the U.S. in 1886, as a stowaway with Mogulesko's company. He started out as a member of the chorus but soon turned to acting. As a singer and a dramatic reader, Blank made a number of recordings in Yiddish.
His appearance in the play David's Fidele ("David's Violin," 1897) brought him recognition and started him on a successful career. Blank was one of the founders of the Hebrew Actor's Union in 1899. In the 1920s he starred in many of Jacob *Gordin's plays at the National Theatre, Liberty Theatre, and Public Theatre in New York. For a short period he was a member of a Yiddish theater company in Philadelphia, but he spent most of his time on the road, performing across the U.S. Despite offers from Broadway and Hollywood, Blank remained attached to the Jewish theater. His memoirs were serialized in Der Forverts (Oct. 5, 1928–Jan. 29, 1929).
[Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]