- Helen Menken
name = Helen Menken
imagesize = 150px
caption = from the film "
Stage Door Canteen" (1943).
birthdate = birth date|1901|12|12|mf=y
New York, New York, United States
deathdate = death date and age|1966|3|27|1901|12|12|mf=y
New York, New York, United States
(1926 – 1928)
Henry T. Smith
(1932 – 1947)
George N. Richard
(1948 – 1966)
Helen Menken (
December 12, 1901– March 27, 1966) was an American actress, born Helen Meinken to a German-French father, Frederick Meinken, and an Irish-born mother, Mary Madden.
New York City, Menken was originally a teenage actress who made her Broadway theatredebut in "Parlor, Bedroom and Bath" in 1917. Her greatest stage triumphs were "Seventh Heaven" in 1922 – 1924 ( Janet Gaynorplayed her role of Diane in the 1927 classic film); " Mary of Scotland" in 1933 – 1934 as Elizabeth Iopposite Helen Hayesin the title role ( Katharine Hepburnplayed Mary in the 1936 film version); and "The Old Maid", the Pulitzer Prize-winning play that starred Menken and Judith Andersonin 1935. Bette Daviswould recreate Menken's role as the spinster with a secret in the 1939 film version.
Menken's final Broadway appearance was in an unsuccessful play named "The Laughing Woman", which ran for less than a month in 1937. She was active on radio in the 1940s (notably recreating her performance opposite Judith Anderson in a 1946 radio adaption of "The Old Maid") and a major presence behind the scenes in the theater world, especially at the
American Theatre Wing. She received a special Tony Awardposthumously in 1966 for her work.
The first of her three husbands was actor
Humphrey Bogart. She was Bogart's first wife. They were married at the Gramercy Park Hotelin New York Cityon May 20, 1926, they divorced November 18, 1927. She married Dr. Henry T. Smith on July 12, 1932and they divorced in 1947, then married George N. Richard in October, 1948 who survived her. Helen Menken died from a heart attack at a party at The Lambson March 27, 1966at the age of 64.
Menken made a
short filmin New York Cityin 1925 for Lee DeForest, filmed in the short-lived DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-filmprocess. The film is preserved in the Maurice Zouary collection at the Library of Congress.
* [http://www.ibdb.com/person.asp?ID=22221 Helen Menken at the Internet Broadway Database]
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