Hattie McDaniel (Actress) – Petition

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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. 
Hattie McDaniel onThe Ed Wynn Show edwynnshowb2a6_1"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 quippedI’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

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. 

Actress Louise Beavers (third from left) and Hattie McDaniel (second from right), circa 1948. Los Angeles Public Library photo collection

“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. 

Gable Again Outraged By Segregation!”

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.

Gable Again Outraged By Segregation “When Clark Gable found out that Hattie McDaniel and the other Black stars of the film would not be allowed to go to Atlanta along with the white members of the cast, he hit the ceiling. Gable was already good friends with McDaniel prior to making the movie, and he angrily threatened to boycott the premiere unless she was allowed to attend. It was McDaniel herself who talked him into going. Clark Gable was a big enough star to undo segregation on a Hollywood movie lot, but segregation in the heart of Dixie was too much even for him.” https://reelrundown.com/film-industry/Clark-Gable-Desegregates-Gone-With-The-Wind-Movie-Set?fbclid=IwAR3oviKvxJOavCytz32N-LCSdRjonR_g010PdQrL1L1tGtx06MIG25biZIk

 

“When Clark Gable found out that Hattie McDaniel and the other Black stars of the film would not be allowed to go to Atlanta along with the white members of the cast, he hit the ceiling.

Gable was already good friends with McDaniel prior to making the movie, and he angrily threatened to boycott the premiere unless she was allowed to attend. It was McDaniel herself who talked him into going.

Clark Gable was a big enough star to undo segregation on a Hollywood movie lot, but segregation in the heart of Dixie was too much even for him.”

https://reelrundown.com/film-industry/Clark-Gable-Desegregates-Gone-With-The-Wind-Movie-Set?fbclid=IwAR3oviKvxJOavCytz32N-LCSdRjonR_g010PdQrL1L1tGtx06MIG25biZIk

Gone With the Wind HATTIE MCDANIEL Character Figure

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.

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


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  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.

 “2203 S. Harvard Blvd in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles sits the former home of Academy Award-winning actress Hattie McDaniel. Her house was designed by local architect Lester S. Moore in 1911.

Whites wanted Miss McDaniel out and sued her stating restriction covenants say Whites only are allowed to purchase homes in the area. Superior Judge Thurmond Clarke decided to visit the disputed ground—popularly known as Sugar Hill.
The next morning Judge Clarke threw the case out of court. His reason: “It is time that members of the Negro race are accorded, without reservations or evasions, the full rights guaranteed them under the 14th Amendment to the Federal Constitution. Judges have been avoiding the real issue too long.”

Louise Beavers and Ethel Waters were able to save their homes in West Adams because of this action as well.

There are 17 rooms in all, a large living room, dining room, drawing room, den, butler’s pantry, kitchen, service porch, library, and four bedrooms. It was decorated with a Chinese theme. Every year she would hold a big party and many of the legends of Hollywood attended – including Rhett Butler… Clark Gable.

 

The Thrill of Sugar Hill

Black entertainers not only revived West Adams—they challenged racist covenants and laid the groundwork for the Fair Housing Act

 

“Nobody threw a party like Hattie McDaniel. In her white and green Mediterranean mansion high atop the Los Angeles neighborhood of Sugar Hill, McDaniel, dressed in the latest fashion, hosted evening salons that brought together some of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century.

“The best of black show business performed within the walls of 2203 South Harvard,” McDaniel’s biographer Jill Watts writes. “Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Count Basie all played there. Ethel Waters sang and Butterfly McQueen did dramatic recitations. On many evenings, McDaniel herself joined in. It was private and intimate, but it was also independent and unfettered, free of white interference.”

 

 

Hattie.McDaniel's.star

McDaniel has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood: one for her contributions to the radio industry 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.

mcdaniel_hattie_stamp_med

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 9: A sheet of the new, 39-cent postage stamps of Hattie McDaniel is on the wall of the Theatre Arts Department at Howard University on April 9, 2010. (Photo by Tracy A Woodward/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

 

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 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.”

 

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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.