Leon Blank

Singer & actor in the Yiddish theater

Leon Blank was born in Lithuania in 1867. When Blank was just a boy, his family moved to Romania, where he began singing in a local Synagogue choir. Even from an early age, Blank felt an attraction to Yiddish theater. When the opportunity to travel to the United States with Sigmund Mogulesko’s theater company arose in 1886, Blank jumped at the chance. He started out as a member of Mogulesko’s choir, but slowly worked his way up to solo actor and singer. Blank’s great success in the play "David's Violin" in 1897 catapulted his career on stage.

In addition to a busy performing schedule, Blank helped to found the Hebrew Actors Union in 1899. During the 1920’s Blank appeared regularly in Jacob Gordin’s plays at the National Theater, Liberty Theater, and Public Theater in New York. Blank also toured the U.S, performing extensively in Yiddish theaters across the country. On several occasions, he was offered roles in Broadway plays and Hollywood films, but Blank preferred to remain on the Yiddish theater stage. Blank’s recording career included eight albums released by Victor and Columbia Records from 1917-1928. The best known of these recordings was his album Der Oks Un Di Tsayg, Der Yidisher May, released in 1917 by Columbia Records.