Hattie McDaniel
Hattie McDaniel
Hattie McDaniel was an American actress. McDaniel was the first African-American to win an Academy Award. She won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role of Mammy in Gone with the Wind. In addition to having acted in many films, McDaniel was a professional singer-songwriter, comedian, stage actress, radio performer, and television star; she was the first black woman to sing on the radio in America.
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THE NEW SEASON | MOVIES; In Praise of Character Actors
NYTimes - over 5 years
THE golden age of Hollywood may have passed, but these are boom times for great character actors. On the big screen and the small, in movies and in television, beautiful sad sacks like Paul Giamatti, Bryan Cranston and Steve Buscemi are running away with some of the best roles and lines going, and Viola Davis is suddenly on the verge of stardom.
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NYTimes article
Linda Darnell on TCM: A LETTER TO THREE WIVES, NO WAY OUT - Alt Film Guide (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
I'd have liked this one better had the film featured, say, Paul Robeson or Ethel Waters or Hattie McDaniel or Louise Beavers or anyone less self-consciously upstanding than Poitier in the role. Darnell capably plays the role of a jaded woman quite
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Google News article
Montgomery film festival features Civil War theme - Houston Chronicle
Google News - over 5 years
Hattie McDaniel became the first black to win an Academy Award for her performance in the movie. Another Civil War film, "Glory", will be shown at 1:15 pm The theme for this year's festival is "blacks and the legacy of the Civil War
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Google News article
Black Film Festival on Saturday at the Capri - Montgomery Advertiser
Google News - over 5 years
This classic film with Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable also featured Hattie McDaniel in the role of “Mammy.” McDaniel became the first black person to win an Academy Award. Trimble will lead the post-film discussion. 1:15 pm: “Glory
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Google News article
What's Really Behind the Arguments Over 'The Help'? - Moviefone (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Their acts of subversion may be small and done only behind their employers' backs, but there's clearly a difference between these quietly seething women and Hattie McDaniel's Mammy in 'Gone With the Wind' (the most notorious example of the stereotype),
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Google News article
James Stewart's early roles featured Aug 13 on TCM's Summer Under The Stars - Examiner.com
Google News - over 5 years
Just a year before she'd win the Oscar for her role as Mammy in Gone With The Wind, Hattie McDaniel is featured as Martha, Daisy's wise and wise-cracking maid. TCM next offers Stewart and Frank Capra's 1939 gem, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington at 9am/8c
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Is 'The Help' Heroic Or Stereotyping? - UrbanMecca
Google News - over 5 years
When the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People complained about Hattie McDaniel's portrayal of slave housekeeper Mammy in the 1939 blockbuster film “Gone with The Wind,” the actress is reported to have responded, “I'd rather get
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Google News article
How Racist is 'The Help'? - Indie Wire (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Hattie McDaniel Despite Hollywood's best intentions and well-meaning saccharine storytelling, it gets race wrong, repeatedly. From “Driving Miss Daisy” to “Crash” to “The Blind Side” to “Avatar,” whiteness remains Hollywood's dominant force,
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Google News article
Dr. Boyce: Sorry Viola, But I Won't Be Seeing “The Help” - News One
Google News - over 5 years
The great Hattie McDaniel, who played “Mammy” in “Gone with the Wind,” once made said “I'd rather make $700 a week playing a maid than earn $7 a day being a maid.” McDaniel's point is well-taken. It's very difficult to get work in Hollywood for anyone,
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Google News article
Viola Davis On The Backlash To Playing A Maid - Jezebel
Google News - over 5 years
Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel famously said she would rather get paid $700 a week for playing a maid than $7 for being one, after civil rights groups criticized the portrayal of black characters in Gone With The Wind. Seventy years later, The Help and
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Editor's pick tbt* Top Bar - Tampabay.com
Google News - over 5 years
This portion features the unrated 1939 film Gone with the Wind, starring Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland and Hattie McDaniel. This is the epic tale of the indomitable Katie Scarlett O'Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler,
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"Richard III": Classic with a modern lesson - People's World
Google News - over 5 years
Earnestine Phillips is a stand out as Queen Margaret; her appearance and inflections of speech are long associated with African-American actresses and it made me wonder: What if Hattie McDaniel had been allowed to play, say, Shakespeare, Shaw or Ibsen?
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Providing Hudson County with theater Park Players to take on Agatha Christie ... - The Hudson Reporter
Google News - over 5 years
The cast of characters features female Hollywood icons – from Marilyn Monroe to Hattie McDaniel – each one a part of a nunnery. “It's a campy laugh riot,” said Knox. “Funny show.” “It's a lot of fun,” said Johnson. “We laugh every night
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Google News article
'The Kid': Gritty sequel to 'Push' focuses on Precious' son - Kansas City Star
Google News - over 5 years
The last fat black woman to receive an Oscar nomination was Hattie McDaniel in 'Gone with the Wind,' and she was basically a slave for Vivien Leigh." In "Precious," "an obese African American was the star, the center, the whole movie revolved around
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Remembering “Gone with the Wind” - New Yorker (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
... had to leave out various subplots, of course, including Scarlett's dependence on her beloved and scorned Mammy, played, in the film version, by Hattie McDaniel, who became the first black actress to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role
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Google News article
Historic dolls take stage - Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
Google News - over 5 years
You can see the entire contingent, from Hattie McDaniel to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on Sunday afternoon at the historic Nathan Denison House in Forty Fort. If you're wondering how they'll all fit … well, by now you must have guessed they're dolls
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Google News article
Arlington plans bike boulevards near Columbia Pike - Greater Greater Washington
Google News - over 5 years
... unlikely to find information via sites like ArlNow, PikeTownCenter, and GGW. by tdr on Jun 22, 2011 2:57 pm As a 9th St resident, I'll be loudly voicing my opposition. by Hattie McDaniel on Jun 22, 2011 3:26 pm Well first because it is my right
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Hattie McDaniel
  • 1952
    Age 56
    By the spring of 1952, she was too ill to work and was replaced by Louise Beavers.
    More Details Hide Details McDaniel was the most famous of the black homeowners who helped to organize the black West Adams neighborhood residents who saved their homes. Loren Miller, an attorney and the owner and publisher of the California Eagle newspaper, represented the minority homeowners in their restrictive covenant case. In 1944, Miller won the case Fairchild v Rainers, a decision in favor of a black family in Pasadena, California, who had bought a nonrestricted lot but was sued by white neighbors anyway. Time magazine, in its issue of December 17, 1945, reported that
  • 1951
    Age 55
    McDaniel's last will and testament of December 1951 awarded her Oscar to Howard University, where she had been honored by the students with a luncheon after she had won her Oscar.
    More Details Hide Details At the time of her death, McDaniel would have had few options. Very few white institutions in that day preserved black history. Historically, black colleges had been where such artifacts were placed. Despite evidence McDaniel had earned an excellent income as an actor, her final estate was less than $10,000. The IRS claimed the estate owed more than $11,000 in taxes. In the end, the probate court ordered all of her property, including her Oscar, sold to pay off creditors. Years later, the Oscar turned up where McDaniel wanted it to be: Howard University, where, according to reports, it was displayed in a glass case in the University's drama department. The whereabouts of the McDaniel Oscar are currently unknown. In 1992, Jet magazine reported that Howard University could not find it and alleged that it had disappeared during protests in the 1960s. In 1998, Howard University stated that it could find no written record of the Oscar having arrived at Howard. In 2007, an article in the Huffington Post repeated rumors that the Oscar had been cast into the Potomac River by angry civil rights protesters in the 1960s. The assertion reappeared in the Huffington Post under the same byline in 2009.
  • 1949
    Age 53
    She married Larry Williams, an interior decorator, on June 11, 1949, in Yuma, Arizona, but divorced him in 1950 after testifying that their five months together had been marred by "arguing and fussing."
    More Details Hide Details McDaniel broke down in tears when she testified that her husband tried to provoke dissension in the cast of her radio show and otherwise interfered with her work. "I haven't gotten over it yet," she said. "I got so I couldn't sleep. I couldn't concentrate on my lines."
  • 1945
    Age 49
    She divorced Crawford in 1945, after four and a half years of marriage.
    More Details Hide Details Crawford had been jealous of her career success, she said, and once threatened to kill her.
    According to Donald Bogle, in his book Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams, McDaniel happily confided to gossip columnist Hedda Hopper in 1945 that she was pregnant.
    More Details Hide Details McDaniel began buying baby clothes and set up a nursery in her house. Her plans were shattered when she suffered a false pregnancy and fell into a depression. She never had any children.
  • 1942
    Age 46
    McDaniel had purchased her white, two-story, seventeen-room house in 1942.
    More Details Hide Details The house included a large living room, dining room, drawing room, den, butler's pantry, kitchen, service porch, library, four bedrooms and a basement. McDaniel had a yearly Hollywood party. Everyone knew that the king of Hollywood, Clark Gable, could always be found at McDaniel's parties. As her fame grew, McDaniel faced growing criticism from some members of the black community. Groups such as the NAACP complained that Hollywood stereotypes not only restricted blacks to servant roles but often portrayed blacks as lazy, dim-witted, satisfied with lowly positions, or violent. In addition to addressing studios, they called upon actors, and especially leading black actors, to pressure studios to offer more substantive roles and at least not pander to stereotypes. They also argued that these portrayals were unfair as well as inaccurate and that, coupled with segregation and other forms of discrimination, such stereotypes were making it difficult for all blacks, not only actors, to overcome racism and succeed. Some attacked McDaniel for being an "Uncle Tom"—a person willing to advance personally by perpetuating racial stereotypes or being an agreeable agent of offensive racial restrictions. McDaniel characterized these challenges as class-based biases against domestics, a claim that white columnists seemed to accept. And she reportedly said, "Why should I complain about making $700 a week playing a maid? If I didn't, I'd be making $7 a week being one."
    In the 1942 Warner Bros. film In This Our Life, starring Bette Davis and directed by John Huston, McDaniel once again played a domestic, but one who confronts racial issues when her son, a law student, is wrongly accused of manslaughter.
    More Details Hide Details The following year, McDaniel was in Warner Bros' Thank Your Lucky Stars, with Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis. In its review of the film, Time wrote that McDaniel was comic relief in an otherwise "grim study," writing, " Hattie McDaniel, whose bubbling, blaring good humor more than redeems the roaring bad taste of a Harlem number called Ice Cold Katie." McDaniel continued to play maids during the war years, in Warner Bros' The Male Animal (1942) and United Artists' Since You Went Away (1944), but her feistiness was toned down to reflect the era's somber news. She also played the maid in Song of the South. She made her last film appearances in Mickey (1948) and Family Honeymoon (1949). She remained active on radio and television in her final years, becoming the first black American to star in her own radio show with the comedy series Beulah. She also starred in the ABC television version of the show, replacing Ethel Waters after the first season. (Waters had apparently expressed concerns over stereotypes in the role.) Beulah was a hit, however, and earned McDaniel $2,000 a week. But the show was controversial. In 1951, the United States Army ceased broadcasting Beulah in Asia because troops complained that the show perpetuated negative stereotypes of black men as shiftless and lazy and interfered with the ability of black troops to perform their mission.
  • 1941
    Age 45
    She married James Lloyd Crawford, a real estate salesman, on March 21, 1941, in Tucson, Arizona.
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  • 1940
    Age 44
    In 2010, Mo'Nique, the winner of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, wearing a blue dress and gardenias in her hair, as McDaniel had at the ceremony in 1940, in her acceptance speech thanked McDaniel "for enduring all that she had to so that I would not have to".
    More Details Hide Details Her speech revived interest in the whereabouts of McDaniel's plaque. In 2011, J. Freedom duLac reported in the Washington Post that the plaque had disappeared in the 1960s. In November 2011, W. B. Carter, of the George Washington University Law School, published the results of her year-and-a-half-long investigation into the Oscar's fate. Carter rejected claims that students had stolen the Oscar (and thrown it in the Potomac River) as wild speculation or fabrication that traded on long-perpetuated stereotypes of blacks. She questioned the sourcing of the Huffington Post stories. Instead, she argued that the Oscar was likely returned to Howard University's Channing Pollack Theater Collection between the spring of 1971 and the summer of 1973 or had possibly been boxed and stored in the drama department at that time. The reason for its removal, she argued, was not civil rights unrest but rather efforts to make room for a new generation of black performers. If neither the Oscar nor any paper trail of its ultimate destiny can be found at Howard today, she suggested, inadequate storage or record-keeping in a time of financial constraints and national turbulence may be blamed. She also suggested that a new generation of caretakers may have failed to realize the historic significance of the 5 1/2" x 6" plaque.
    The Twelfth Academy Awards took place at the Coconut Grove Restaurant of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. It was preceded by a banquet in the same room. Louella Parsons, an American gossip columnist, wrote about Oscar night, February 29, 1940:
    More Details Hide Details Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, fellow members of the motion picture industry and honored guests: This is one of the happiest moments of my life, and I want to thank each one of you who had a part in selecting me for one of their awards, for your kindness. It has made me feel very, very humble; and I shall always hold it as a beacon for anything that I may be able to do in the future. I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race and to the motion picture industry. She and her escort were required to sit at a segregated table for two. Gone with the Wind won ten Academy Awards, a record that stood for years. It was later named by the American Film Institute (AFI) as number four among the top 100 American films of all time.
  • 1939
    Age 43
    For her performance as the house slave who repeatedly scolds her owner's daughter, Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh), and scoffs at Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), McDaniel won the 1939 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, the first black American to win an Oscar.
    More Details Hide Details She was the first black American to have been nominated. "I loved Mammy," McDaniel said when speaking to the white press about the character. "I think I understood her because my own grandmother worked on a plantation not unlike Tara." Her role in Gone with the Wind had alarmed some whites in the South; there were complaints that in the film she had been too "familiar" with her white owners. At least one writer pointed out that McDaniel's character does not significantly depart from Mammy's persona in Margaret Mitchell's novel, and that in both the film and the book, the much younger Scarlett speaks to Mammy in ways that would be deemed inappropriate for a Southern teenager of that era to speak to a much older white person, and that neither the book nor the film hints of the existence of Mammy's own children (dead or alive), her own family (dead or alive), a real name, or her desires to have anything other than a life at Tara, serving on a slave plantation. Moreover, while Mammy scolds the younger Scarlett, Mammy never crosses the more senior white woman in the household, Mrs. O'Hara. Some critics felt that McDaniel not only accepted the roles but also in her statements to the press acquiesced in Hollywood's stereotypes, providing fuel for critics of those who were fighting for black civil rights. Later, when McDaniel tried to take her "Mammy" character on a road show, black audiences did not prove receptive.
    While Jim Crow laws kept McDaniel from the Atlanta premiere, she did attend the film's Hollywood debut on December 28, 1939.
    More Details Hide Details Upon Selznick's insistence, her picture was also featured prominently in the program.
    Loew's Grand Theater, on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Georgia, was selected by the studio as the site for the premiere of Gone with the Wind, on Friday, December 15, 1939.
    More Details Hide Details Studio head David Selznick asked that McDaniel be permitted to attend, but MGM advised him not to, because of Georgia's segregation laws. Clark Gable threatened to boycott the Atlanta premiere unless McDaniel were allowed to attend, but McDaniel convinced him to attend anyway. Most of Atlanta's 300,000 citizens crowded the route of the seven-mile motorcade that carried the film's other stars and executives from the airport to the Georgian Terrace Hotel, where they stayed.
  • 1936
    Age 40
    McDaniel had a featured role as Queenie in the 1936 film Show Boat (Universal Pictures), starring Allan Jones and Irene Dunne, in which she sang a verse of Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man with Dunne, Helen Morgan, Paul Robeson, and a black chorus.
    More Details Hide Details She and Robeson sang "I Still Suits Me", written for the film by Kern and Hammerstein. After Show Boat, she had major roles in MGM's Saratoga (1937), starring Jean Harlow and Clark Gable; The Shopworn Angel (1938), with Margaret Sullavan; and The Mad Miss Manton (1938), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. She had a minor role in the Carole Lombard–Frederic March film Nothing Sacred (1937), in which she played the wife of a shoeshine man (Troy Brown) masquerading as a sultan. McDaniel was a friend of many of Hollywood's most popular stars, including Joan Crawford, Tallulah Bankhead, Bette Davis, Shirley Temple, Henry Fonda, Ronald Reagan, Olivia de Havilland, and Clark Gable. She starred with de Havilland and Gable in Gone with the Wind (1939). Around this time, she began to be criticized by members of the black community for the roles she accepted and for pursuing roles aggressively rather than rock the Hollywood boat. For example, in The Little Colonel (1935), she played one of the black servants longing to return to the Old South, but her portrayal of Malena in RKO Pictures's Alice Adams angered white Southern audiences, because she stole several scenes from the film's white star, Katharine Hepburn. McDaniel ultimately became best known for playing a sassy and opinionated maid.
  • 1935
    Age 39
    In 1935, McDaniel had prominent roles, as a slovenly maid in Alice Adams (RKO Pictures); a comic part as Jean Harlow's maid and traveling companion in China Seas (MGM) (McDaniels's first film with Clark Gable); and as the maid Isabella in Murder by Television, with Béla Lugosi.
    More Details Hide Details She appeared in the 1938 film Vivacious Lady, starring James Stewart and Ginger Rogers.
  • 1934
    Age 38
    In 1934, McDaniel joined the Screen Actors Guild.
    More Details Hide Details She began to attract attention and landed larger film roles, which began to win her screen credits. Fox Film Corporation put her under contract to appear in The Little Colonel (1935), with Shirley Temple, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Lionel Barrymore. Judge Priest (1934), directed by John Ford and starring Will Rogers, was the first film in which she played a major role. She had a leading part in the film and demonstrated her singing talent, including a duet with Rogers. McDaniel and Rogers became friends during filming.
  • 1931
    Age 35
    In 1931, McDaniel moved to Los Angeles to join her brother Sam and her sisters Etta and Orlena.
    More Details Hide Details When she could not get film work, she took jobs as a maid or cook. Sam was working on a KNX radio program, The Optimistic Do-Nut Hour, and was able to get his sister a spot. She performed on radio as "Hi-Hat Hattie", a bossy maid who often "forgets her place". Her show became popular, but her salary was so low that she had to continue working as a maid. Her first film appearance was in The Golden West (1932), in which she played a maid. Her second was in the highly successful Mae West film I'm No Angel (1933), in which she played one of the black maids with whom West camped it up backstage. She received several other uncredited film roles in the early 1930s, often singing in choruses.
  • 1929
    Age 33
    After the stock market crashed in 1929, the only work McDaniel could find was as a washroom attendant and waitress at Club Madrid in Milwaukee.
    More Details Hide Details Despite the owner's reluctance to let her perform, she was eventually allowed to take the stage and soon became a regular performer.
  • 1926
    Age 30
    McDaniel recorded seven sessions: one in the summer of 1926 on the rare Kansas City label Meritt; four sessions in Chicago for Okeh from late 1926 to late 1927 (of the ten sides recorded, only four were issued), and two sessions in Chicago for Paramount in March 1929.
    More Details Hide Details
    From 1926 to 1929, she recorded many of her songs for Okeh Records and Paramount Records in Chicago.
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  • 1920
    Age 24
    From 1920 to 1925, she appeared with Professor George Morrison's Melody Hounds, a black touring ensemble.
    More Details Hide Details In the mid-1920s, she embarked on a radio career, singing with the Melody Hounds on station KOA in Denver.
  • 1916
    Age 20
    McDaniel was not only a performer but was also a songwriter. She honed her songwriting skills while working with her brother's minstrel show. After the death of her brother Otis in 1916, the troupe began to lose money, and Hattie did not get her next big break until 1920.
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  • 1911
    Age 15
    McDaniel married Howard Hickman in January 19, 1911, in Denver, Colorado.
    More Details Hide Details He died on March 7, 1915. Her second husband, George Langford, died of a gunshot wound in January 1925, soon after she married him and while her career was on the rise.
  • 1895
    McDaniel was born June 10, 1895, in Wichita, Kansas, to former slaves.
    More Details Hide Details She was the youngest of 13 children. Her father, Henry McDaniel, fought in the Civil War with the 122nd USCT and her mother, Susan Holbert, was a singer of religious music. In 1900, the family moved to Colorado, living first in Fort Collins and then in Denver, where Hattie graduated from Denver East High School. Her brother, Sam McDaniel (1886–1962), played the butler in the 1948 Three Stooges’ short film Heavenly Daze. Her sister Etta McDaniel was also an actor.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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