1895 ~*****~ 1952
By Dale Ricardo Shields (c)
All Rights Reserved.
~*****HATTIE McDANIEL TRIBUTE*****~
Thank Your Lucky Stars – 1943.
Hattie McDaniel is Beulah and Ruby Dandridge is Oriole in a clip from The Beulah Show (1952).
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
|Spouse(s)||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 film Gone 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 of Showboat 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 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.”
Ms. Beavers and Ms. McDaniel, two groundbreaking African American actresses who managed to have Holyywood 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 actressIngrid 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), andOlivia 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.”
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
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.
McDaniel has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood: one for her contributions to radio at 6933 Hollywood Boulevard, and one for motion pictures at 1719 Vine Street. In 1975, she was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and in 2006 became the first black Oscar winner honored with a US postage stamp.
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_McDaniel Musical 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 I Need You 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.
“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.“
Filmography of Hattie McDaniel
- The Golden West (1932)
- Love Bound (1932)
- Impatient Maiden (1932)
- Are You Listening? (1932)
- The Washington Masquerade (1932)
- The Boiling Point (1932)
- Crooner (1932)
- Blonde Venus (1932)
- Hypnotized (1932)
- Hello, Sister (1933)
- I’m No Angel (1933)
- Merry Wives of Reno (1934)
- Operator 13 (1934)
- King Kelly of the U.S.A. (1934)
- Judge Priest (1934)
- Flirtation (1934)
- Lost in the Stratosphere (1934)
- Babbitt (1934)
- Little Men (1934)
- The Little Colonel (1935)
- Transient Lady (1935)
- Traveling Saleslady (1935)
- China Seas (1935)
- Alice Adams (1935)
- Murder by Television (1935)
- Harmony Lane (1935)
- Music Is Magic (1935)
- Another Face (1935)
- We’re Only Human (1935)
- Can This Be Dixie? (1936)
- Next Time We Love (1936)
- The First Baby (1936)
- The Singing Kid (1936)
- Gentle Julia (1936)
- Show Boat (1936)
- High Tension (1936)
- The Bride Walks Out (1936)
- Postal Inspector (1936)
- Star for a Night (1936)
- Valiant Is the Word for Carrie (1936)
- Libeled Lady (1936)
- Reunion (1936)
- Mississippi Moods (1937)
- Racing Lady (1937)
- Don’t Tell the Wife (1937)
- The Crime Nobody Saw (1937)
- The Wildcatter (1937)
- Saratoga (1937)
- Stella Dallas (1937)
- Sky Racket (1937)
- Over the Goal (1937)
- Merry Go Round of 1938 (1937)
- Nothing Sacred (1937)
- 45 Fathers (1937)
- Quick Money (1937)
- True Confession (1937)
- Battle of Broadway (1938)
- Vivacious Lady (1938)
- The Shopworn Angel (1938)
- Carefree (1938)
- The Mad Miss Manton (1938)
- The Shining Hour (1938)
- Everybody’s Baby (1939)
- Zenobia (1939)
- Gone with the Wind (1939)
- Maryland (1940)
- The Great Lie (1941)
- Affectionately Yours (1941)
- They Died with Their Boots On (1941)
- The Male Animal (1942)
- In This Our Life (1942)
- George Washington Slept Here (1942)
- Johnny Come Lately (1943)
- Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943)
- Since You Went Away (1944)
- Janie (1944)
- Three Is a Family (1944)
- Hi, Beautiful (1944)
- Janie Gets Married (1946)
- Margie (1946)
- Never Say Goodbye (1946)
- Song of the South (1946)
- The Flame (1947)
- Mickey (1948)
- Family Honeymoon (1949)
- The Big Wheel (1949)
Further Reading on Hattie McDaniel
Bogle, Donald, Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films, Viking Press, 1973.
Bogle, Donald, Brown Sugar: Eighty Years of America’s Black Female Superstars, Harmony Books, 1980.
Jackson, Carlton, Hattie: The Life of Hattie McDaniel, Madison Books, 1990.
Noble, Peter, The Negro in Films: Literature of the Cinema, Arno Press, 1970.
Amsterdam News (New York), November 19, 1949; November 1, 1952; April 28, 1979, p. 37.
Collier’s, December 1939, pp. 20-21, 32.
Crisis, October 1937, p. 297.
Ebony, August 1948, p. 57; December 1949, p. 92.
Hollywood Studio Magazine, April 1977, pp. 19-20.
Journal of Popular Film, Fall 1973, pp. 366-71.
New York Times, March 7, 1948; October 27, 1952.
New York Times Magazine, December 10, 1939.
Our World Magazine, February 1952.
Village Voice, May 5, 1975.
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