Suzanne Blackmer, 92, an actress best remembered for her ability to hold Donald Trump at bay when he wanted her to abandon her Manhattan apartment in the 1980s so he could increase the rent, died Aug. 27 at a nursing facility in Englewood, N.J. She was undergoing rehabilitation after suffering pneumonia.
When Mrs. Blackmer was 15, Florenz Ziegfeld offered to put her in his Follies, but her parents refused, according to an online biography.
As Suzanne Kaaren, Mrs. Blackmer appeared in the Three Stooges movie "Disorder in the Court" (1936) and was the heroine in the Bela Lugosi low-budget thriller "The Devil Bat" (1940).
The New York native married actor Sidney Blackmer in 1943 and left films until making an uncredited appearance in "The Cotton Club" (1984) as "the Duchess of Park Avenue."
Sidney Blackmer, a Tony Award-winning actor who had appeared in films since the silent period, died of cancer in 1973. Mrs. Blackmer began appearing in news accounts in the mid-1980s as her battle with Trump intensified.
According to a Washington Post account in 1987, Trump tried to convince the courts that Mrs. Blackmer's primary residence was a 150-year-old mansion in Salisbury, N.C. But that house had been gutted by fire in 1984, and she began to live full time in an apartment at 100 Central Park South that she and her husband had owned for decades.
Her financial condition was precarious. The North Carolina home was in need of repairs, and its insurance had lapsed. Her husband's illness and several bad investments left her with little money, according to published reports.
She paid a pittance for the third-floor apartment at 100 Central Park South -- just $203.59 a month because of rent control.
Then Trump bought the apartment building. Because other apartments on the same street with the same view rented for $5,000 a month, Trump wanted more for her apartment and others like it.
But she was one of the successful plaintiffs against Trump. In 1998, a New York court ruled that Trump could turn the apartments into condos and sell them -- Mrs. Blackmer's was assessed at $750,000 then -- or the renters could stay, with rent control.
Mrs. Blackmer's take on Trump: "He wants to buy up all of New York. The man is a greedy slob."
She stayed in the apartment until she became ill last winter.
A son said the family will not keep the apartment because there were no succession rights to family members.
Survivors include two sons, Jonathan Blackmer of Alexandria and Brewster Blackmer of Spain; and a grandson.