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He was born and raised in Salisbury, North Carolina. At the end of his adolescence he moved to New York looking for work in the theater. While there, he worked for several film studios that were then the capital of the film industry, Fort Lee, New Jersey, including a small role in the very popular silent film serial of 1914, The Perils of Pauline.
He debuted on Broadway in 1917, but his career was interrupted by having to serve in the United States Armed Forces in World War I. After the war he returned to the theater, and in 1929 he also returned to the cinema, following an acting career with more than 120 titles.
He won the Tony Award for Best Dramatic Actor in 1950 for his role in the Broadway play, Come Back, Little Sheba. On stage, he also performed, among other works, Sweet Bird of Youth (1959), Tennessee Williams, with Paul Newman.
At the cinema, Blackmer is remembered for more than a dozen portraits he made of US President Theodore Roosevelt and for his role in the Oscar-winning 1968 film Rosemary’s Baby, directed by Roman Polanski, at the which played a solicitous neighbor, married to an even more solicitous neighbor, played by Ruth Gordon (who won an Oscar for her performance).
Interested in humanitarian work, Sidney Blackmer served as vice president of the Muscular Dystrophy Association of the United States.
He married in 1928 the actress Lenore Ulric, from whom he divorced in 1939. In 1943 he married the also actress Suzanne Kaaren. The marriage lasted until the death of Blackmer in 1973. He had two children. He was buried at Chestnut Hill Cemetery in Salisbury, North Carolina.
For his contribution to the film industry, Sidney Blackmer has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 1625 Vine Street.
In 1972 he received the North Carolina Award in the category of Fine Arts. It is the most important civil reward in North Carolina.
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