Hattie McDaniel was an African American actress, singer and radio performer. She had the distinction of becoming the first African American actor to receive an Oscar for her supporting character as “Mammy” in the movie “Gone with the Wind” in 1940. Her singing talents were discovered early, and she started to sing and perform professionally while she was in school. Later she joined her elder brother’s troupe and worked with George Morrison’s orchestra. Her work with the vaudeville troupes earned her a position to work with the radio station in Denver. Even after establishing herself as a blues artist, it was difficult for Hattie to sustain herself. Persuaded by her siblings she moved to Los Angles in the lure of the tinsel town. Hattie landed with minor roles in movies, as it was difficult for African-Americans to get good roles in movies. But, Hattie had the acting prowess and soon she started getting meatier roles, eventually landing in the epic saga ‘Gone with the Wind’. In her later career, she faced criticism about featuring in stereotypical roles meant for the colored people like servants and slaves. But, Hattie defended her choice stating that the roles were much more than what meets the eye, and used her talent as an actor and singer to break the racial stereotypes rather than criticizing them.
June 10, 1895
Also Known As
Hi-Hat Hattie, Mamie, The Colored Sophie Tucker, Hattie McDaniels
Died At Age
Place Of Death
East High School
George Langford, Howard Hickman, James Lloyd Crawford, Larry Williams, Nym Lankfard
Etta McDaniel, Orlena McDaniel, Otis McDaniel, Sam McDaniel
A previous version of this article misstated the name of the author of “Gone With the Wind.” She is Margaret Mitchell, not Martha. The article has been corrected. On the evening of Feb. 29, 1940, actress Hattie McDaniel, with white gardenias in her hair, swept into the Ambassador Hotel’s Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Los Angeles for the Academy Awards banquet. That night, she would become the first African American ever to win an Oscar for her role as an enslaved maid in the blockbuster movie “Gone With the Wind.”
(BRPROUD) — Hattie McDaniel made history as the first Black actor to win an Academy Award in 1940 for her role in Gone With the Wind. McDaniel was born on June 10, 1893, in Wichita, Kansas. As a child living in Denver, Colorado, she discovered her singing talent at church and school. She decided to make talent a profession in high school when she started singing, dancing and performing skits in The Mighty Minstrels. McDaniel would eventually drop out of school to focus on her career.
Editor’s note: Loveland area history writer Kenneth Jessen has written a series of stories about notable Black people in Colorado history in recognition of Black History Month. On Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, the modest Hattie McDaniel home at 317 Cherry St. near downtown Fort Collins was dedicated. Area historians...
In the 2020 Netflix fictionalized miniseries "Hollywood," it's implied that actresses Tallulah Bankhead, pictured above and the star of films like Hitchcock's "Lifeboat," and Hattie McDaniel, best known for her role as Mammy in "Gone with the Wind," may have been lovers. Much of the "Hollywood" series is true to life, while other aspects are made up, or otherwise dramatized, according to Heavy. So what do we really know about the rumored romance between these two early Hollywood film stars?
Actress Hattie McDaniel is a seemingly forgotten icon and pioneer within the Black community and has been overshadowed in history. Born in 1893, McDaniel would go on to become the first Black person to ever win an Oscar for acting. Since making history for all Black people, McDaniel does not...
"Gone With the Wind" is one of Clark Gable's most famous films. He played the role of Rhett Butler alongside Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara as the two lead characters. Though Gable was known as the "King of Hollywood" and was one of the highest0paid actors of the era (via The Los Angeles Times), "Gone With the Wind" was groundbreaking for more reasons than its leading man.
Legendary actress Hattie McDaniel was the first African American actor to win an Oscar, snagging the award in 1939 for her role as Mammy in Gone With The Wind. At a time when racism and prejudice were strife in Hollywood, with blackface still a common form of entertainment, Hattie McDaniel was able to carve a place for herself as one of the most esteemed actresses of her time. Entertainment Weekly wrote about Hattie McDaniel’s legacy in 2018, taking note of her historic firsts but also reminding us of the controversies that involved the characters she was cast to play. “Black audiences criticized her for perpetuating negative stereotypes, and white filmmakers cast her only in domestic-servant roles. “I’d rather play a maid than be a maid,” she famously told her critics, but by the time of her death in 1952, she was a polarizing figure, forever associated with Mammy, Scarlett O’Hara’s feisty house slave.” Regardless of people’s thoughts on McDaniel’s ultimate legacy, her life deserves to be memorialized in a proper biopic. In fact, one is already in the works, an indie film that is set to star Raven Goodwin, according to Deadline. If movie execs decided to develop a major studio biopic about the actress, here are a few casting suggestions to portray the legendary Academy-Award-winning actress.