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Hattie McDaniel

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Hattie McDaniel

Hattie McDaniel
Hattie McDaniel in 1941
Born (1895-06-10)June 10, 1895
Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
Died October 26, 1952(1952-10-26) (aged 57)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Breast cancer
Resting place Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery
Occupation Actress
Years active 1932–1949
Spouse(s) George Langford (1922–1922) (his death)
Howard Hickman (1938–1938) (divorced)
James Lloyd Crawford (1941–1945) (divorced)
Larry Williams (1949–1950) (divorced)
Tristan Obcemea (1951–1952)

Hattie McDaniel (June 10, 1895 – October 26, 1952) was an American actress, singer-songwriter, and comedienne. She is best known for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind (1939) for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her the first African American to win an Academy Award.

In addition to acting 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 the U.S.[1][2] During her career, McDaniel appeared in over 300 films, although she received screen credits for only 80 or so.[3]

McDaniel has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood: one at 6933 Hollywood Boulevard for her contributions to radio and one at 1719 Vine Street for acting in motion pictures. 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.[4]

Contents

  • Background and early acting career 1
    • Gone with the Wind 1.1
    • 1940 Academy Awards 1.2
  • Later career 2
  • Legal case: Victory on "Sugar Hill" 3
  • Controversy over roles 4
  • Community service 5
  • Marriages 6
  • Death 7
  • Whereabouts of the McDaniel Oscar 8
  • Legacy and recognition 9
  • Filmography 10
    • Features 10.1
    • Short subjects 10.2
  • Radio appearances 11
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14

Background and early acting career

Hattie McDaniel was born June 10, 1895, in Wichita, Kansas, to former slaves. 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.[5] 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. Another acting sibling of Hattie and Sam was actor Etta McDaniel.

In 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.[6] In 1926–1929 she also recorded many of her songs on Okeh Records[7] and Paramount Records[8] in Chicago. In all, McDaniel recorded seven sessions; one in the summer of 1926 on the rare Kansas City label Meritt; four sessions in Chicago for Okeh (late 1926-late 1927) – of the ten sides, only four were issued, and two sessions in Chicago for Paramount (both in March 1929).

When the stock market crashed in 1929, the only work McDaniel could find was as a wash-room attendant and waitress at Club Madrid in Milwaukee. Despite the owner's reluctance to let her perform, McDaniel was eventually allowed to take the stage and she soon became a regular.

In 1931, McDaniel made her way to

Her first film appearance was in The Golden West (1932) as a maid; her second was in the highly successful Mae West film I'm No Angel (1933), as one of the black maids West camped it up with backstage. She received several other uncredited film roles in the early 1930s, often singing in choruses.

In 1934, McDaniel joined the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). She began to attract attention and finally landed larger film roles that 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.

In 1935 McDaniel had prominent roles with her performances as a slovenly maid in RKO Pictures' Alice Adams, a comic part as Jean Harlow's maid/traveling companion in MGM's China Seas, the latter her first film with Clark Gable, and as Isabella the maid in Murder by Television with Béla Lugosi. She also appeared in the 1938 film, Vivacious Lady, starring James Stewart and Ginger Rogers.

McDaniel had a featured role as Queenie in Paul Robeson, and the black chorus. Later in the film she and Robeson sang I Still Suits Me, a song written especially by Kern and Hammerstein for the film.

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 very minor role in the Carole Lombard/Frederic March vehicle, Nothing Sacred (1937), in which she appeared as 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 would star with de Havilland and Gable in Gone with the Wind (1939).

It was around this time that she began to be criticized by members of the black community for the roles she chose to accept and for her decision to pursue 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 McDaniel's portrayal of Malena in RKO Pictures's Alice Adams angered white Southern audiences; she had stolen several scenes away from the film's white star, Katharine Hepburn. McDaniel would ultimately become best known for playing a sassy and opinionated maid.

Gone with the Wind

The competition to play Mammy in Gone with the Wind (1939) had been almost as stiff as that for Scarlett O'Hara. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to film producer David O. Selznick to ask that her own maid, Elizabeth McDuffie, be given the part.[11] McDaniel did not think she would be chosen because she had earned her reputation as a comic actress. One source claims that Clark Gable recommended the role go to McDaniel; in any case when she went to her audition dressed in an authentic maid's uniform and won the part.[12]

Upon hearing of the planned film adaptation, the NAACP fought hard to require the film's producer and director to delete racial epithets from it (in particular the offensive slur "nigger") and to alter scenes that might be incendiary and that, in their view, were historically inaccurate. Of particular concern was a scene from the novel in which black men attack Scarlett O'Hara, after which the Ku Klux Klan, with its long history of provoking terror on black communities, is presented as a savior.[13] Throughout the South, black men were being lynched based upon false allegations they had harmed white women. That attack scene was altered, and some offensive language was modified. But another epithet, "darkie", remained in the film, and the film's message with respect to slavery remained essentially the same. Consistent with the book, the film's screenplay also referred to poor whites as "white trash," and it ascribed these words equally to characters black and white.[14]

The Loew's Grand Theater on Peachtree Street in

External links

  • The Life and Struggles of Hattie McDaniel (author Jill Watts audio interview), hear the voice of Hattie McDaniel
  • Carter, W. B. (2011). "Finding the Oscar". Howard Law Journal 55 (1): 107.  
  • Hopper, Hedda. "Hattie Hates Nobody". Chicago Sunday Tribune, 1947.
  • Jackson, Carlton. Hattie: The Life of Hattie McDaniel. Lanham, MD: Madison Books, 1990. ISBN 1-56833-004-9
  • Mitchell, Lisa. "More Than a Mammy". Hollywood Studio Magazine, April 1979.
  • Salamon, Julie. "The Courage to Rise Above Mammyness". New York Times, August 6, 2001.
  • Watts, Jill. Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN 0-06-051490-6
  • Young, Al. "I’d Rather Play a Maid Than Be One". New York Times, October 15, 1989.
  • Zeigler, Ronny. "Hattie McDaniel: ‘(I’d)... rather play a maid.’" N.Y. Amsterdam News, April 28, 1979.
  • Access Newspaper Archive – search for "Hattie McDaniel"
Bibliography
  1. ^ "Hattie McDaniel Biography". MTV. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  2. ^ Jackson, Carlton. Hattie: The Life of Hattie McDaniel, Lanham, MD: Madison Books, 1990. ISBN 1-56833-004-9
  3. ^ "Hattie Mcdaniel". blackclassicmovies.com. Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Hattie McDaniel, First African American To Win An Academy Award, Featured On New 39-Cent Postage Stamp", Press Release for US Postal Service, January 25, 2006.
  5. ^ Jackson, Carlton. Hattie: The Life of Hattie McDaniel, p. 4.
  6. ^ Lyman, Darryl. Great African American Women, Jonathan David Company, 2005. ISBN 0-8246-0459-8
  7. ^ Laird, Ross. Discography of Okeh Records, 1918–1934, Praeger/Greenwood, pp. 392, 446, 2004. ISBN 0-313-31142-0
  8. ^ Vladimir, Bogdanov. All Music Guide to the Blues: The Definitive Guide to the Blues, Backbeat Books, p. 274, 2003. ISBN 0-87930-736-6
  9. ^ Sam McDaniel at the Internet Movie Database
  10. ^ Etta McDaniel at the Internet Movie Database
  11. ^ Watts, Jill. Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood, Harper Collins, 2005, p. 151.
  12. ^ Harris, Warren G. Clark Gable: A Biography, Harmony, (2002), p. 203; ISBN 0-307-23714-1
  13. ^ Watts, Jill. Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood, 2005, pp. 152–71. ISBN 0-06-051490-6
  14. ^ W. Burlette Carter, "Finding the Oscar", p. 114, n. 40.
  15. ^ Harris, ibid., p. 211.
  16. ^ : "Gone with the Wind Premiere"Time Magazine, article dated Monday, December 25, 1939.
  17. ^ Bridges, Herb. Gone With the Wind: the Three-day Premiere in Atlanta, Mercer University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-86554-672-X
  18. ^ Watts, Jill. Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood, 2005, p. 172. ISBN 0-06-051490-6
  19. ^ Lyman, Darryl. Great African American Women, Jonathan David Company, 2005, p. 161. ISBN 0-8246-0459-8
  20. ^ Lotchin, Roger W. The Way We Really Were: The Golden State in the Second Great War, University of Illinois Press, 1999, p. 36. ISBN 0-252-06819-X
  21. ^ a b c W. Burlette Carter, "Finding the Oscar", p. 114, n. 40, p. 115, n. 47.
  22. ^ Watts, Jill. Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood, 2005, pp. 188–90. ISBN 0-06-051490-6
  23. ^ a b W. B. Carter, "Finding the Oscar", pp. 199–20, n. 40.
  24. ^ See and hear Hattie McDaniel acceptance speech at the end of this video.
  25. ^ Jackson, Carlton. Hattie: The Life of Hattie McDaniel, p. 52.
  26. ^ W. Burlette Carter, "Finding the Oscar", p. 109, n. 08.
  27. ^ W. Burlette Carter, "Finding the Oscar", pp. 115–16, citing Photograph of Guests at 12th Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Awards Banquet (1939) in Margaret Herrick Library, Special Collections
  28. ^ "American Film Institute". Connect.afi.com. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  29. ^ , "Review: Thank Your Lucky Stars (Warner)"Time, Monday, October 4, 1943.
  30. ^ Milton A. Smith, "Offensive to GIs, Banned: Army Drops ‘Beulah’ Show Taken Off Air After Fighters Complain", Balt. Afro-American, February 17, 1951, at 1.
  31. ^ (Three of McDaniel's episodes are readily available on videocassette and may be found on the Internet.)
  32. ^ Watts, Jill. Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood, p. 328.
  33. ^ magazine, "Victory on Sugar Hill"Time, Monday, December 17, 1945.
  34. ^ Watts, Jill. Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood, p. 212.
  35. ^ W. Burlette Carter, "Finding the Oscar", pp. 122–23.
  36. ^ W. Burlette Carter, "Finding the Oscar", p. 117, n. 67, citing "No Hope For The Negro In Films, Says Writer, As Long As Hattie McDaniel ‘Toms’", Cleveland Gazette, February 17, 1945, p. 9.
  37. ^ a b CBSNEWS.com: First black Oscar winner honored with stamp, Thursday, January 26, 2006.
  38. ^ a b W. Burlette Carter, "Finding the Oscar", p. 123.
  39. ^ Jill Watts, Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood, p. 129.
  40. ^ Watts, Jill, Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood, pp. 226–27.
  41. ^ Hedda Hopper, Screen and Stage: Own People Slow Hattie McDaniel Up, L.A. Times, December 14, 1947, at H3.
  42. ^ "Hattie McDaniel and the Negro Division of the Hollywood Victory Committee". Cghs.dade.k12.fl.us. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  43. ^ Watts, Jill. Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood, p. 210.
  44. ^ Spada, James. More Than a Woman: An Intimate Biography of Bette Davis, Little, Brown and Company (1993), pp. 191–92. ISBN 0-553-56868-X
  45. ^ "Network and Local Radio Listings". The Sunday Sun. 4 Jan 1942. Retrieved 8 Jan 2011. 
  46. ^ Watts, Jill, Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood, 2006, p. 126.
  47. ^ Monday, December 31, 1945 (1945-12-31). "Time Magazine article, Monday, December 31, 1945". Time.com. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  48. ^ magazine articleTime, Monday, December 18, 1950.
  49. ^ Long Beach Press-Telegram, Long Beach, California, Wednesday, December 6, 1950.
  50. ^ Associated Press, First black to win Oscar to get part of final wish, The Frederick Post, Frederick, MD, Monday, October 25, 1999.
  51. ^ Hattie McDaniel at Find a Grave
  52. ^ "The Memorial to Actress Hattie McDaniel at Hollywood Forever Memorial Park". Cemeteryguide.com. 1952-10-24. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  53. ^ "And Hattie McDaniel's Oscar went to .... ? 1940 prize, Howard U. play roles in mystery". Washington Post, May 26, 2010.
  54. ^ W. Burlette Carter, "Finding the Oscar", pp. 136–37.
  55. ^ W. Burlette Carter, "Finding the Oscar", p. 129.
  56. ^ W. Burlette Carter, "Finding the Oscar", p. 139.
  57. ^ W. Burlette Carter, "Finding the Oscar", p. 109, n. 10, citing "Howard University Can't Find McDaniel Oscar," Jet Magazine, May 4, 1992, p. 24.
  58. ^ W. Burlette Carter, "Finding the Oscar", p. 109, n. 10, citing "Hattie McDaniel's Academy Award is Lost," Jet Magazine, April 13, 1998, p. 33.
  59. ^ .The Huffington PostTom Gregory, "Oscar Time for Hattie McDaniel",
  60. ^ "The Flower in Mo’Nique’s Hair: Hattie McDaniel Tribute". jezebel. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  61. ^ Freedom du Lac, J. (May 26, 2010). "And Hattie McDaniel's Oscar went to .... ? 1940 prize, Howard U. play roles in mystery". Washington Post. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  62. ^ a b c d e Burlette Carter, W. (2011). "Finding the Oscar". Howard Law Journal. pp. 107–171. 
  63. ^ "Gone with the Wind: Hollywood Walk of Fame Stars". Destinationhollywood.com. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  64. ^ Ferguson, Carroy U. Transitions in Consciousness From an African American Perspective, University Press of America, p. 243 (2004). ISBN 0-7618-2700-5
  65. ^ 30, 2004.html "Karla Burns: Broadway To Vegas, May 30, 2004" . Broadwaytovegas.com. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  66. ^ "2001–2002 Daytime Emmy Awards". Infoplease.com. 2002-05-17. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  67. ^ "Hattie McDaniel, First African American to Win an Academy Award, Featured on New 39-cent Postage Stamp" (Press release). United States Postal Service. 2006-01-25. Retrieved 2008-07-09. Hattie McDaniel, movie actress, singer, radio and television personality, and the first African American to win an Academy Award today became the 29th honoree in the U.S. Postal Service's long-running Black Heritage commemorative stamp series 
  68. ^ William J. Gicker (ed.) (2006). "Hattie McDaniel 39¢". USA Philatelic (print) 11 (3): 12. 
  69. ^ "Abel, Walter". radioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
Notes

References

See also

Year Program Episode/source
1941 Gulf Screen Guild Theatre No Time for Comedy[69]

Radio appearances

Short subjects

Features

Filmography

Kevin John Goff, McDaniel's great-grandnephew, is currently in pre-production on a three-part documentary on McDaniel's life. Part one will be completed in September 2015 and filmed in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

"Hattie McDaniel Day" was celebrated August 16, 2011, by the national GLBT radio station OutQ (Sirius XM) on the Frank Decaro Show.

American rapper Nas pays tribute to McDaniel in his song, "Blunt Ashes," from his eighth studio album, released December 15, 2006.

McDaniel was the 29th inductee in the Black Heritage Series by the United States Postal Service. Her 39-cent stamp was released on January 29, 2006, featuring a 1941 photograph of McDaniel in the dress she wore to accept the Academy Award in 1940.[67][68] The ceremony took place at the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where the Hattie McDaniel collection includes photographs of McDaniel and other family members as well as scripts and other documents.[37]

In 2002, Hattie McDaniel's legacy was celebrated in American Movie Classics's (AMC) film Beyond Tara, The Extraordinary Life Of Hattie McDaniel (2001), produced and directed by Madison D. Lacy, Ph.D., and hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. This one-hour special depicted McDaniel's struggles and triumphs in the presence of rampant racism and brutal adversity. The film won the 2001–2002 Daytime Emmy Award, presented on May 17, 2002, for Outstanding Special Class Special.[66]

Since 2007, actress and singer Vickilyn Reynolds has been portraying Hattie McDaniel on stage in the musical, "Hattie... What I Need You To Know." Reynolds not only wrote the play, but also composed ten of the twelve songs as well. The other two songs were composed by W.C. Handy ("St. Louis Blues") and Charlie Chaplin ("Smile"). She most recently performed the musical at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall on March 20–22, 2015 under the direction of Byron Nora. Hattie McDaniel's great-grandnephew, actor and producer Kevin John Goff, was in attendance for all the performances and gave a moving speech praising Reynolds performance. "Ms. Reynolds talent is without question," stated Goff as he addressed an astounded audience. "Hattie passed away before I was born and seeing Vickilyn perform was like meeting Hattie in person for the very first time. She is brilliant as Hattie and she was born to play my aunt on stage and in film."

In 1994, actress and singer Karla Burns launched her one-woman show, Hi-Hat-Hattie (written by Larry Parr), about McDaniel's life. Burns went on to perform the role in several other cities through 2002, including Off-Broadway and the Long Beach Playhouse Studio Theatre in California.[65]

McDaniel has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood: one at 6933 Hollywood Boulevard for her contributions to radio and one at 1719 Vine Street for motion pictures.[63] In 1975, she was inducted posthumously into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.[64]

Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame for contributions to radio at 6933 Hollywood Boulevard.

Legacy and recognition

[62] If neither the Oscar nor any paper trail of its ultimate destiny can be found at Howard today, she suggested, inadequate storage and/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.[62] 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.[62]'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.Howard University was likely returned to Oscar stories. Instead, she argued that the Huffington Post She questioned the sourcing of the [62] (and/or thrown it in the Potomac River) as wild speculation or pure fabrication that traded on long-perpetuated stereotypes of blacks.Oscar Professor Carter rejected claims that students had stolen the [62] In November 2011, Prof. W. B. Carter of the

In 2010, attention focused on the McDaniel Oscar again. In her acceptance speech, Best Supporting Actress winner Mo'Nique paid tribute to McDaniel, thanking her "for enduring all that she had to so that I would not have to," and wearing a blue dress with gardenias in her hair similar to the one McDaniel had worn to the ceremony in 1940.[60] In 2011, J. Freedom duLac of The Washington Post again reported that the plaque had disappeared during the '60s.[61]

The whereabouts of the McDaniel Oscar are currently unknown. In 1992, Jet Magazine ran a story reporting that Howard University could not find it and alleged that it had disappeared in the 1960s during the protests.[57] In 1998, Howard University stated that it could find no written record of the Oscar having arrived at Howard.[58] 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.[59] The assertion reappeared in the Huffington Post under the same byline in 2009.

Whereabouts of the McDaniel Oscar

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.[53] 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.[54] 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.[55] 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.[56]

In 1999, Tyler Cassidy, the new owner of the Hollywood Cemetery that had renamed it Hollywood Forever Cemetery, offered to have McDaniel re-interred at his cemetery. Her family did not wish to disturb her remains and declined the offer. Instead, Hollywood Forever Cemetery built a large cenotaph on the lawn overlooking its lake. It is one of Hollywood's most popular tourist attractions.[52]

McDaniel died at age 57 on October 26, 1952, of breast cancer in the hospital on the grounds of the Motion Picture House in Woodland Hills. McDaniel was survived by her brother, Sam McDaniel. Thousands of mourners turned out to celebrate her life and achievements. In her will, 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."[50] The Hollywood Cemetery on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood is the resting place of movie stars such as Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino, and others. Hollywood Cemetery refused to allow her to be buried there, because it, too, practiced racial segregation and would not accept for burial the bodies of black people. Her second choice was Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery, where she lies today.[51]

Grave of Hattie McDaniel at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery
Cenotaph at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Death

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."[48][49]

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.[47]

She married Howard Hickman in 1938 but divorced him later in that year.

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.

Marriages

She joined actor Clarence Muse, one of the first black members of the Screen Actors Guild, in an NBC radio broadcast to raise funds for Red Cross relief programs for Americans that had been displaced by devastating floods and gained a reputation for generosity, lending money to friends and strangers alike.[46]

[45].American Women's Voluntary Services In addition, McDaniel was a member of [44] and Ethel Waters also participated.Lena Horne was the only white member of McDaniel's acting troupe to perform for black regiments; Bette Davis ([43][42] McDaniel was a member of

McDaniel leading entertainers and hostesses to Minter Field for a performance and dance for World War II soldiers. She was Chair of the "Negro Division" of the Hollywood Victory Committee.

Community service

McDaniel and other black actors feared that their roles would evaporate if the NAACP and other Hollywood critics complained too loudly.[40] She blamed these critics for hindering her career and sought the help of allies of doubtful reputation. After speaking with McDaniel, Hedda Hopper even claimed that McDaniel's career troubles were not the result of racism but had been caused by McDaniel's "own people".[41]

McDaniel may also have been criticized because, unlike many other black entertainers, she was not associated with civil rights protests and was largely absent from efforts to establish a commercial base for independent black films. She did not join the Negro Actors Guild of America until 1947, very late in her career.[38] McDaniel hired one of the few white agents who would represent black actors in those days, William Meiklejohn, to advance her career.[39] Evidence suggests her avoidance of political controversy was premeditated. When columnist Hedda Hopper sent her Richard Nixon placards and asked McDaniel to distribute them, McDaniel declined, replying she had long ago decided to stay out of politics. "Beulah is everybody's friend," she said.[38] Since she was earning a living honestly, she added, she should not be criticized for accepting such work as was offered. Her critics, especially Walter White of the NAACP, claimed that she and other actors who agreed to portray stereotypes were not a neutral force but rather willing agents of black oppression.

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, perfectly satisfied in 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.[35] 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.[36] 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."[37]

Controversy over roles

McDaniel had purchased her white two-story, seventeen-room house in 1942. 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.[34]

Said Hattie McDaniel, of West Adams Heights: "Words cannot express my appreciation."[33]
Superior Judge Thurmond Clarke decided to visit the disputed ground—popularly known as "Sugar Hill." ... 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."
But some whites, refusing to be comforted, had referred to the original racial restriction covenant that came with the development of West Adams Heights back in 1902 which restricted "Non-caucasians" from owning property. For seven years they had tried to enforce it, but failed. Then they went to court....
In 1938, Negroes, willing and able to pay $15,000 and up for Heights property, had begun moving into the old eclectic mansions. Many were movie folk — Actresses Louise Beavers, Hattie McDaniel, Ethel Waters, etc. They improved their holdings, kept their well-defined ways, quickly won more than tolerance from most of their white neighbors.
Spacious, well-kept West Adams Heights still had the complacent look of the days when most of Los Angeles' aristocracy lived there....

Time magazine reported, in its December 17, 1945 issue that:

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, a local attorney and owner/publisher of the California Eagle newspaper, represented the minority homeowners in their restrictive covenant case.[32] In 1944, Miller won the case Fairchild v Rainers, a decision for a black Pasadena, California, family that had bought a non-restricted lot but was sued by white neighbors anyway.

Legal case: Victory on "Sugar Hill"

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 The Beulah Show 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.[30] After filming a handful of episodes, however, McDaniel learned she had breast cancer. By the spring of 1952, she was too ill to work and was replaced by Louise Beavers.[31]

McDaniel as Beulah, 1951

She also played the maid in Song of the South.

Hattie 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.

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...."[29]

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, as her law student son is wrongly accused of manslaughter.

Later career

Gone with the Wind was awarded ten Academy Awards, a record that stood for years, and was later named by the American Film Institute (AFI) as number four among the top 100 American films of all time.[28]

(McDaniel received a plaque-style Oscar, approximately 5 1/2 x 6 inches, the type awarded to all Best Supporting Actors and Actresses at that time.)[26] Yet on the night McDaniel became the first black American to be honored by the motion picture industry, she could not escape being reminded of how far the industry and the country had yet to go to overcome racism: McDaniel and her escort were required to sit at a segregated table for two, apart from both her Gone with the Wind colleagues and those in the motion picture industry.[27]

"Hattie McDaniel earned that gold Oscar by her fine performance of 'Mammy' in Gone with the Wind. If you had seen her face when she walked up to the platform and took the gold trophy, you would have had the choke in your voice that all of us had when Hattie, hair trimmed with gardenias, face alight, and dress up to the queen's taste, accepted the honor in one of the finest speeches ever given on the Academy floor.

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:

1940 Academy Awards

While many blacks were happy over McDaniel's personal victory, they also viewed it as bittersweet. They believed Gone With the Wind celebrated the slave system and condemned the forces that destroyed it.[23] For them, the unique accolade McDaniel had won suggested that only those who did not protest Hollywood's systemic use of racial stereotypes could find work and success there.[23]

It was McDaniel's role as the house slave who repeatedly scolds her owner's daughter, Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh), and scoffs at Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), that won McDaniel the 1939 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her the first black American to win an Oscar. She had also been the first black American to be 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."[19] Her role in Gone with the Wind had alarmed some whites in the Southern audience; there were complaints that in the film she had been too "familiar" with her white owners.[20] But at least one author pointed out that McDaniel's character does not significantly depart from Mammy's persona in Margaret Mitchell's book, 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 teen of that era to speak to a much older white person, and that neither the book nor the film hint 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.[21] Moreover, while Mammy scolds the younger Scarlett, Mammy never crosses the more senior white woman in the household, Mrs. O'Hara.[21] Some critics felt that McDaniel not only accepted the roles but in her press comments acquiesced in Hollywood's stereotypes, providing fuel for critics of those who were fighting for black civil rights.[21] Later, when McDaniel tried to take her "Mammy" character on a road show, black audiences did not prove receptive.[22]

[18] kept McDaniel from the Atlanta premiere, she did attend the film's Hollywood debut on December 28, 1939. Upon Selznick's insistence, her picture was also featured prominently in the program.Jim Crow laws While [17][16] 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

[15]

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