Willie Best
Actor
Willie Best
William "Willie" Best, sometimes known as Sleep n' Eat, was an American television and film actor. Best was one of the first well-known African American film actors and comedians, although his work, like that of Stepin Fetchit, is today sometimes reviled because he was often called upon to play stereotypically lazy, illiterate, and/or simple-minded characters in films.
Biography
Willie Best's personal information overview.
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News
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Hating Tyler Perry: Why Does He Raise the Ire of the Black Intelligentsia? - The Atlanta Post
Google News - over 5 years
It sounds like disapproval for another era – that of the actor popularly known as Sleep 'n Eat, Willie Best's character of the 1930s. “I feel like Tyler Perry's films are bad for your brain,” said Touré, TV host and cultural critic
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Google News article
Ask the Incredible Inman | Musical haunted house - Louisville Courier-Journal
Google News - over 5 years
The cast also includes Anthony Quinn, Gale Sondergaard and Willie Best. Freelance writer David Inman's column appears daily. Email him at incredibleinman@yahoo.com. Please include your hometown. Questions of general interest will be answered;
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Google News article
TV Q&A with David Inman - Boston Herald
Google News - over 5 years
The cast also includes Anthony Quinn and Willie Best. Q. In the late 1970s, there was a movie about a man who eventually “got his” in the basement of a house. All the lights were out and there were razor blades all along the walls so that whenever he
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Google News article
The Monster Walks (1932) Review - HorrorMovies.ca
Google News - over 5 years
The only other “saving grace” in this film was the comic relief provided by Willie Best as the unfortunately stereotypical black servent- but at least he lives. I found Rex Lease as Dr Ted Clayton to be rather overbearing and arrogant, making me wish
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Google News article
Film Directors Tyler Perry and Spike Lee's Irreconcilable Differences… - ThyBlackMan
Google News - over 5 years
And Black actors like Bill Robinson and Willie Best literally had to 'bootlick and buckdance' their way into movies. All the while praying that their sacrifice would someday reward a new generation of actors that would not have to suffer the
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Google News article
Willie Mays Turns 80, and He's STILL Not the Greatest Player Ever - Village Voice (blog)
Google News - almost 6 years
Anyway, what seems to have been forgotten is that during Willie's best season there was another player who was his equal or superior. Collectively, we seem to have forgotten that Mickey Mantle, at his peak, was better than Mays or Duke Snider or Joe
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Google News article
MOVIES OF THE WEEK
NYTimes - almost 20 years
PRE-CASTRO Cuba, a Long Island mansion, upstate New York and the British Isles of the Round Table era provide backdrops for some distinctive films on television this week. Having rung the bell with ''The Cat and the Canary,'' set on a spooky plantation, Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard succeeded again in George Marshall's GHOST BREAKERS (1940). As
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NYTimes article
Seeing the Big Picture (and Talking About It): A Museum Series Schedule
NYTimes - about 24 years
"Changing the Picture: The Emergence of African-Americans in Television," a series of screenings of documentaries, dramas, comedies, movies, sports events, music and talk shows, runs through March 28 at the American Museum of the Moving Image, 35th Avenue at 36th Street, Astoria, Queens. Lectures and discussions are scheduled throughout the series.
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NYTimes article
IMAGES OF ASIANS; A More Pernicious Bias
NYTimes - over 25 years
To the Editor: It is incomprehensible even to supposedly insensitive whites like me that Gish Jen can write an article challenging the movies' bias against Asians without once mentioning that, in all those Charlie Chan films she finds so demeaning to Asians, a menial character, played by the likes of Willie Best or Mantan Moreland, shucked,
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NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Willie Best
    FORTIES
  • 1962
    Age 45
    He was buried (by the Motion Picture Fund) on March 5, 1962, at Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery.
    More Details Hide Details Best's "Sleep n' Eat" moniker surfaced again in the 2000 motion picture satire Bamboozled, directed by Spike Lee. In the film a "twenty-first-century minstrel show" is televised starring two African American performers, one of whom (portrayed by Tommy Davidson) plays a character named "Sleep n' Eat." In a nod to one of Best's most respected contemporaries, his on-stage counterpart is named "Mantan."
  • THIRTIES
  • 1950
    Age 33
    He also played Willie, the house servant/handyman and close friend of the title character of ABC’s The Trouble with Father, for its entire run from 1950 to 1955.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TWENTIES
  • 1941
    Age 24
    He also played the character of "Hipp" in three of RKO’s six Scattergood Baines films with Guy Kibbee: 1941’s Scattergood Baines, 1942’s Scattergood Survives a Murder, and 1943’s Cinderella Swings It. (Actor Paul White, who played a young version of Best’s "Hipp" in the first film, went on to play "Hipp" in the next three films.
    More Details Hide Details Best returned to the role in the last two.) After a drug arrest ended his film career, he worked in television for a while and became known to early TV audiences as Charlie, the elevator operator on CBS's My Little Margie, from 1953 to 1955.
  • 1940
    Age 23
    Similarly, comedian Bob Hope acclaimed Best as "the best actor I know," while the two were working together in 1940 on The Ghost Breakers.
    More Details Hide Details As a bit player, Best, like many black actors of his era, was regularly cast in domestic worker or service-oriented roles (a few times he played the role that echoed his previous occupation - that of a private chauffeur). He often was seen making a brief comedic turn as a hotel, airline or train porter, but also as an elevator operator, custodian, butler, valet, waiter, deliverymen - and at least once as a launch pilot (in 1939’s Mr. Moto in Danger Island). Best received screen credit most of the time, which was unusual for bit players; most in the 1930s and '40s did not gain such credit. Walter Brennan, for example, made 125 movies between 1930 and 1939 but was credited on only 57 of them. Best’s career was also unusual because he was regularly - in over 80 of his movies - given a proper character name (as opposed to simple descriptions like ‘room service waiter’ or ‘shoe shine boy’), starting with his second film. By comparison, Lucille Ball wasn’t billed with a proper character name until her 14th film, and some bit players like Robert Dudley and Ethelreda Leopold were only rarely billed with anything more than a character description.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1916
    Born
    Born on May 27, 1916.
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