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Mon, 06.10.1895

Hattie McDaniel, actress extraordinaire

Hattie McDaniel

This date marks the birthday of Hattie McDaniel in 1895. She was an African American actress, one of the greatest American character actresses.

Hattie McDaniel was born in Wichita, KS. She dropped out of school in 1910 to join a minstrel show, and toured with minstrel shows and the vaudeville circuit until the onset of the depression. McDaniel spent about a year singing in Milwaukee before moving to Los Angeles. There, her brother found a part for her on a radio show called "The Optimistic Do-Nuts." Hattie's had a film debut in 1932, singing a duet with Will Rogers in the 20th Century-Fox film, "Judge Priest." She appeared in many films for the remainder of the 1930s and on through the 1940s, and performed on numerous radio shows, including on the "Eddie Cantor Show" and "Amos 'n Andy."

In 1939, Hattie McDaniel won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her performance as “Mammy” in "Gone with the Wind." Other significant roles include “Queenie” in Universal's 1936 production of "Show Boat" and Emily Hawkin in Selznick's "Since You Went Away." In 1947, she found a regular part on radio in "The Beulah Show." In 1951, the show left radio in favor of television, and Hattie stayed with the show until her death from breast cancer at the age of 57 in 1952.

Black Women in America An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York
ISBN 0-926019-61-9

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