“Born on June 10, 1895, in Wichita, Kansas, Hattie was one of 13 children and the daughter of former slaves Henry and Susan McDaniel. Hattie’s father Henry McDaniel fought in the Civil War with the 122nd USCT and his 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.” (Wikipedia)
“Born on June 10, 1895, in Wichita, Kansas,Hattie was one of 13 children and the daughter of former slaves Henry and Susan McDaniel. Hattie’s father Henry McDaniel fought in the Civil War with the 122nd USCT and his 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.” (Wikipedia)
Sam McDaniel (Actor) The brother of Oscar-winning actress Hattie McDaniel, he also had a long and prolific movie career. He appeared in 208 films, but seldom got screen credit. Today his name is known only to cinema historians and trivia buffs. His credits include Hallelujah! (1929), The Public Enemy (1931), Grand Hotel (1932), Footlight Parade(1933), Manhattan Melodrama (1934), Belle of the Nineties (1934), Captains Courageous (1937), Jezebel (1938), Union Pacific (1939), They Died With Their Boots On (1941), Son of Dracula (1943), Double Indemnity (1944), The Egg and I (1947), Ma and Pa Kettle (1949), Carmen Jones (1954), A Hole in the Head (1959), Ice Palace (1960), and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960). McDaniel was born in Witchita, Kansas. After 30 years of performing in minstrel troupes he went to Hollywood in 1929, with Hattie McDaniel tagging along. To his surprise, it was his kid sister who became famous. He died at the Motion Picture Country Home. (bio by: Bobb Edwards)
Etta McDaniel, sister of renowned character actress Hattie. She was in 61 movies from 1933 to 1946, mostly in maid or mammy roles. Her first film role was as a native in King Kong, and she appeared in such films as Stella Dallasand Son of Dracula. Pictured here in False Faces(1943), a run of the mill Republic Studios murder mystery, with a few extra twists to the script courtesy of writer Curt Siodmak. Paired with slow and querulous Nick (Nicodemus) Stewart as an apartment building maid.
Etta played uncredited bits, usually as maids and mammies, in 58 films. Perhaps her most memorable moment is in “King Kong” (1933), as the native woman with the
coconut bra who snatches her baby away from the rampaging ape. Her other credits include The Green Pastures (1936), The Devil Is a Sissy (1936), Stella Dallas (1937), Sergeant Madden (1939), Son of Dracula (1943), and The Thin Man Goes Home (1945). McDaniel was born in Witchita, Kansas. She made her performing debut with her seven siblings as a member of H. M. Johnson’s Mighty Modern Minstrels, a Denver-based vaudeville troupe. In 1933 she settled in Hollywood.
Otis McDaniel(Brother) Birth: Nov. 1882 Death: Nov. 1916 Entertainer. A noted Vaudevillian, he was the driving force behind the Henry McDaniel Minstrel Show. Brother of Hattie McDaniel. (bio by Laurie)
Her parents introduced her to music and entertainment early on- her father was a Baptist preacher yet also sang and played the banjo in minstrel shows and her mother was a gospel singer. The family moved to Denver in 1901. “McDaniel was one of only two black children in her elementary school class in Denver. Racial prejudice was less virulent in the West than elsewhere in the United States, and she became something of a favorite at the 24th Street Elementary School for her talents as a singer and reciter of poetry. Even as a child, according to a letter written to Hattie years later by her teacher, “you had an outstanding dramatic ability, an ability to project to your listeners your strong personality and your ever present sense of humor.” By high school, Hattie’s talents were already starting to shine in school and church; thus began her early career as a singer and a dancer. She often joined her father’s (Henry McDaniel Minstrel Show) minstrel act and toured with other vaudevillian troupes. and several other troupes. The minstrel shows, usually performed by blacks but sometimes by whites in blackface, presented a variety of entertainments based on caricatures of black cultural life for the enjoyment of mostly white audiences. With her father’s troupe, which also featured a number of her brothers and sisters, she visited most of the major cities in the western United States while honing the skills that would later make her famous.n addition to performing, Hattie was also a songwriter, a skill she honed while working with her brother’s minstrel show. After the death of her brother Otis in 1916, the troupe began to lose money, and it wasn’t until 1920 that Hattie got her next big break. During 1920–25, she appeared with Professor George Morrison’s Melody Hounds, a touring black ensemble, and in the mid-1920s she embarked on a radio career, singing with the Melody Hounds on station KOA in Denver.[ In 1925, she became one of the first African-American women of radio- and the very first black female voice to sing on the radio.
In the early 30’s when she moved to L.A., she was able to garner small roles on the radio through her brother, Sam and sister Etta (already working in radio/film)- which turned into bit roles as extras in films. In order to get by, she took on odd jobs in domestic work while pursuing radio and film work.
In 1934, she landed her first big break on-screen role as a maid in John Ford’s Judge Priest.
In the first of two films Hattie made at RKO with Ginger Rogers in 1938, VIVACIOUS LADY(right), she plays the small and rather unremarkable role of a washroom attendant. Later that year in CAREFREE(1938), Ginger’s eighth musical with Fred Astaire and a decent screwball comedy, Hattie once again makes a very minor contribution, this time as an attendant (named “Hattie”) at the country club where most of the plot takes place.
1942 Olivia DeHaviland and Hattie McDaniel are co stars again, In This Our Life. One of the few movies she did not play a maid.
Hattie plays Aida, the cook and housekeeper for a small-town widow and newspaper publisher trying to rid the town of corruption in JOHNNY COME LATELY(1943), a turn-of-the-century story starring James Cagney (tasting Aida’s pork chops at right) alongside stage star Grace George (as the publisher) and small-town character actress Marjorie Main.
Though most frequently happy and easy-going on screen, Hattie’s personal life was often anything but. Her four marriages were all short, the first ended by the tragic shooting death of her husband in 1922, and the next three ending in divorce. She had no children
Photograph of actress Hattie McDaniel and her husband, Lloyd Crawford, on the couple’s wedding day.
George Langford (1922–1922) (his death) Howard Hickman (1938–1938) (divorced) James Lloyd Crawford (1941–1945) (divorced) Larry Williams (1949–1950) (divorced)
“Hattie McDaniel’s first husband, George Langford, died in 1922, soon after she married him and while her career was on the rise, and her father died the same year. She married Howard Hickman in 1938 but divorced him later that year. In 1941, she married James Lloyd Crawford, a real estate salesman. According to the book, Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams by Donald Bogle, McDaniel happily confided to gossip columnist Hedda Hopper in 1945 that she was pregnant. McDaniel began buying baby clothes and set up a nursery in her house. Her plans were shattered when she suffered a false pregnancy, and McDaniel fell into a depression. She never had any children and divorced Crawford in 1945 after four and a half years of marriage. Crawford had been jealous of her career success, she said, and once threatened to kill her.
Then on June 11, 1949, in Yuma, Arizona, she married Larry Williams, an interior decorator, but divorced him in 1950 after testifying that their five months together had been marred by “arguing and fussing”. 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.” (Wikipedia)
GONE WITH THE WIND
“Hattie McDaniel is best remembered today for her role in the filmGone With The Wind. She won the 1939 Academy Award for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Mammy. She was the first African-American to be nominated for, and to win, an Academy Award. Hattie got her start in show business with her family’s traveling Baptist tent show. As a teenager Hattie performed in the touring vaudeville outfit the Spikes Brothers Comedy Stars on the West Coast. In the early 1920s she was singing with George Morrison’s Orchestra in Denver and toured the Pantages and Orpheum vaudeville circuit with them. She made her recording debut in 1926, but never had much of a recording career, but she was a popular live act. As the Blues craze died out in the late 1920s, Hattie started appearing in theatrical productions. She was in the touring company ofShowboat from 1929 to 1930. In the early 1930s she settled in Hollywood and began her career as a film actress. She was almost always cast as a maid, cook, nanny or servant of some sort, these being the only types of roles available for African-Americans at the time. She appeared in over seventy movies during the 1930s.”
Hattie McDaniel in a rare TV appearance on The Ed Wynn Show.
"For better or worse, she was best known at the time for her radio-sitcom "Beulah"
(thus becoming the first African-American actress to star in her own radio-comedy,
in which she played a Maid who ended up fixing the troubles of her white employers),
and as such plays the character here. Somewhat unexpectedly, she sings a song in this 6-minute appearance."
After winning the Academy Award in 1940 she continued to be cast as the maid for the rest of her life. She famously quipped “I’d rather make $700 a week playing a maid than earn $7 a day being a maid.” Despite the poor quality of her roles Hattie continued to open doors that had previously been closed to African-American performers. In 1947, she starred on the radio in The Beulah Show. In 1951, the show moved to television, and Hattie starred in the first three episodes until she discovered she had cancer and became too ill to continue working.”
Louise Beavers and Hattie McDaniel.
Ms. Beavers and Ms. McDaniel, two groundbreaking African American actresses who managed to have Hollywood careers in an age of seen-but-not-heard racism. They must have competed for the same roles (cook, maid, mammy). Louise got the more substantial roles, Hattie won the Oscar.
“When she signed to play the role of Mammy in GONE WITH THE WIND (1939), Hattie was put under personal contract to producer David O. Selznick, alongside the likes of Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman and British director Alfred Hitchcock, both recent arrivals to Hollywood. Selznick had championed the campaign to win Hattie her Academy Award and was determined to see her play roles more befitting her new status as an Oscar-winner. The producer was soon frustrated at the lack of prestigious opportunities for his newest contract player however. Starring vehicles for black actors among major studio productions at the time were virtually non-existent, and Selznick eventually conceded to allowing Hattie to return to the servant roles that had made her famous. Through a special shared-contract arrangement between Selznick andWarner Bros., Hattie played Bette Davis‘ protective housemaid in THE GREAT LIE (1941), and Olivia de Havilland‘s loyal (and charmingly superstitious) southern maid Callie in THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON (right), de Havilland‘s eighth and final co-starring vehicle with Errol Flynn. Hattie received co-star billing below the title and ample screen time in both films.”
Hattie McDaniel and Clark Gable, aka Mammy and Rhett Butler….The Atlanta premiere of Gone with the Wind was marred by the absence of Hattie McDaniel and other black cast members, who were banned due to Georgia’s Jim Crow laws. An angry Clark Gable was on the brink of boycotting, but his friend McDaniel reportedly persuaded him to attend.
Gone With the Wind HATTIE MCDANIEL Character Figure
Wonderful Smith appears with Hattie McDaniel, center, and ABC commentator Frances Scully at the 1947 Academy Awards.
“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 for one of the 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. My heart is too full to tell you just how I feel, and may I say thank you and God bless you.“
–Hattie McDaniel’s Acceptance Speech delivered on January 29, 1940 at the 12th Annual Academy Awards
Hattie McDaniel was a very positive woman. During World War II Hattie McDaniel was a major part of one of four African-American Greek letter sororities in the United States at that particular time,
Sigma Gamma Rho. McDaniel was very active in performing community service. She once teamed with actor Clarence Muse to broadcast on the radio in order to raise funds for Red Cross relief programs for Americans, who had been displaced by devastating floods.
Toward the end of her life, McDaniel became ill from breast cancer. She began to parcel out various items of her worldly goods. The plaque went on display at the Howard University fine arts complex. Then it disappeared. Ms. McDaniel’s Oscar has been missing for some 40 years. She presented this Oscar to Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Hattie McDaniel died October 25, 1952, in Woodland Hills, California. Ms. McDaniel, a professional singer-songwriter, comedian, stage actress, radio performer, and television star, was in the first Black woman to sing on the radio in America. She appeared in over 300 films. Unfortunately, she was only credited for 80 of the 300 films. She gained the respect of the show business community with her generosity, elegance, and charm.
“In her will, Hattie McDaniel wrote: “I desire a white casket and a white shroud; white gardenias in my hair and in my hands, together with a white gardenia blanket and a pillow of red roses. I also wish to be buried in the Hollywood Cemetery..but they wouldn’t accept her because she was black…her 2nd choice was Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery, where she lies today.”
Fay Bainter presenting Hattie McDaniel with the Oscar® for Best Supporting Actress for her performance
in “Gone With The Wind” at the 12th Academy Awards® in 1940.
There is a link to sign a petition to help replace Hattie’s Oscar that was stolen. Please do your part in helping Hattie McDaniels by clicking the link below or copying the adress as a new url: http://www.gopetition.com/petition/42042.html
Please click here to sign the petition asking the industry to replace Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hattie_McDanielMusical Opens on Life of Hattie McDaniel and Supports Campaign To Replace Her lost Academy Award (Los Angeles) The American Legacy Magazine presented on March 4th 2011, the opening of the one-woman musical, “Hattie…What one-woman To Know” staring award winning Actress Vickilyn Reynolds. The musical documents the life of the Hattie McDaniel, the first African American Academy Award Winner. The musical will ran the first three weekends in March at Stage 52 Playhouse, 5299, W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90016. The musical honors McDaniel’s life and is the labor of love of Vickilyn Reynolds who has dedicated over 10 years to developing the musical and educating the world about McDaniels contributions to the arts and society. During the run of the show in Denver, Reynolds received the nomination for the Denver Post Ovation Award. While in New York, she received the Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Award for Outstanding Performance in a musical/female. “Most people only see Hattie as a maid or mammy and know very little of her life as an activist and her many contributions to film and broadcasting. I want the musical to entertain and educate. March is women’s history month and this musical is performed by a woman, directed by a woman and is about a woman who paved the way for all African Americans in film,” Vicki Lynn Reynolds.
Hattie McDaniel by Patrick Smith – PatrickSmithArt
“For all the dramatic highs and lows of Hattie McDaniel’s life, she lived it as she chose. Surrounded by friends, she enjoyed the pleasures of the privileged life in Hollywood that her high film and radio salaries afforded her for as long as they lasted, and her many career accomplishments demonstrated that hard work and determination, more than race, affected how high a performer could progress up the Hollywood ladder in the 1930s and ’40s.“
Hattie McDaniel. A lot of people don’t hold her in high esteem because of the roles she portrayed as an actress and lack of participation in as many Civil Rights protests as other entertainers. A singer-songwriter, comedian, stage actress, radio performer, and television star and the first African American to win an Academy Award, the first Black Oscar winner to have a postage stamp, the first Black woman to sing on the radio in the United States, and appearing in over 300 films, for trying to eliminate the use of the “N-word” from the film “Gone with the Wind” script, leading anti-segregation efforts in her Los Angeles neighborhood but most importantly for her ability persevere and for being successful despite the presence of rampant racism and brutal adversity in the entertainment industry. She couldn’t even attend the Atlanta premiere of the movie that she won an Academy Award for and had to sit in a segregated table at the award ceremony when she accepted her AcademyAward.
ARCHIVIST and HISTORIAN
Dale Shields is a professor of theatre, director, and actor (Broadway, Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway and Regional).
The 2017 winner of The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award®, 2017 and 2015 Tony® award nominee for the Excellence in Theatre Education Award, and the winner of the 2017 AUDELCO/"VIV" Special Achievement Award. On the web, he is the archivist and historian of Iforcolor.org and Black Theatre/African American Voices [Facebook] (theatre, music, and art). He has taught classes and workshops at Susquehanna University, Denison University, Randolph-Macon College, Macalester College, The College of Wooster, Ohio University, Wayne State University, The University of Akron and the Joseph Papp Public Theatre (NYSF).
B.F.A. and M.F.A. degree from Ohio University.
Your donation helps us to continue providing you with this
valuable historical information!