Blyden, Larry (1925–1975)

By: Jeny Rydell

Type: Biography

Published: May 1, 1995

Updated: September 10, 2016

Larry Blyden, stage and television actor, was born Ivan Lawrence Blieden on June 23, 1925, in Houston, Texas, the son of Adolph and Marian (Davidson) Blieden. He attended Wharton Elementary School, Sidney Lanier Junior High School, and Lamar High School in Houston. He was a student at Southwestern Louisiana Institute in 1943–44 and graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S. in 1948. There he worked for KPRC radio and did theatrical work with the Houston Little Theater and with the Community Players. Blyden joined the United States Marine Corps in World War II. After his discharge, he went to New York, where he worked in radio and studied acting with Stella Adler. He changed his name because he thought Blieden had too many letters for a stage name. His big break came in 1957, when he secured a part in Joshua Logan's production of Mr. Roberts. He later performed in such Broadway plays as Flower Drum Song (1958), The Apple Tree, Blues for Mr. Charlie, Luv, You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running (1969), and Oh Men, Oh Women (1953). Blyden appeared in TV plays, including What Makes Sammy Run and Harvey. He appeared as a host on "Personality," a daytime game show, and as John Daly's successor on "What's My Line?" Blyden arrived in Hollywood only after proving himself on professional TV and Broadway. His first movie was The Bachelor Party, written by Paddy Chayefsky. He won a Tony award as an actor in and coproducer of a revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Two weeks before his death, he left the Broadway hit Absurd Person Singular after 250 performances. He received a Tony nomination for his work in the British farce. On April 17, 1954, Blyden married actress Carol Haney. They had two children and were divorced in 1961. Blyden died on June 7, 1975, in Agadir, Morocco, from injuries received in a car crash.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Time Periods:
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jeny Rydell, “Blyden, Larry,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 21, 2022,

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May 1, 1995
September 10, 2016

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