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Day 20: Hattie McDaniel

Thanks to everyone who contributed to yesterday’s tribute to Randolph Scott. Please make sure you head over and check out all the wonderful posts dedicated to Scott. For the next 24 hours we honor one of the all-time great character actors: the talented and beautiful Hattie McDaniel.

Hattie McDaniel trivia:

  • According to film historian Donald Bogle in his book Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, & Bucks McDaniel was often criticized for her frequent portrayal of stereotypical roles. Her response? “Why should I complain about making seven thousand dollars a week playing a maid? If I didn’t, I’d be making seven dollars a week actually being one!” (p. 82)
  • For the Gone with the Wind premiere in segregated Atlanta, McDaniel knew she wouldn’t be able to attend. Her friend and co-star Clark Gable wanted to boycott the premiere, but she talked him into attending. (TCMDB)
  • Bogle remarks that in the American South, theatre patrons complained that McDaniel, in her various roles, was “too familiar with her white employers”. They also made similar complaints about Rochester with Jack Benny. (p. 92)
  • In the 1950s, McDaniel quit making films and turned to radio where she had a successful run as the character Beulah (p. 93)
  • McDaniel would offer a place to stay to black actors and actresses who could not find a place to stay (IMDb)

  Aurora from Once Upon a Screen j

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Jill Blake

Jill Blake is the owner of the classic film website Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence. She is also a co-founder and editor of the film site The Black Maria and film editor at CC2K. In 2012, she was interviewed on-air by Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz. In 2013, she was a featured guest on the TCM podcast. In her spare time Jill is a stay-at-home mom, wife, fried okra connoisseur, and the neighborhood’s own L.B. Jeffries.


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