The Difficult, Oscar-Profitable Legacy of Hattie McDaniel

McDaniel had an early get started as a performer, becoming a member of an area minstrel troop and her brother Otis’ carnival corporate in highschool.

Hattie McDaniel playing the piano.

McDaniel, proven enjoying a music at the piano in her portrayal of the name position in “Beulah,” a radio program.

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As a result of gigs as a performer and songwriter did not pay a lot, McDaniel took jobs as a maid and laundress at the facet to make ends meet.

Supply: Colorado Digital Library

Display trade within the early 1900s used to be a person’s international, however McDaniel and her sister Etta introduced an all-female ‘black-face’ minstrel display in 1914 referred to as the McDaniel Sisters Corporate.

Hattie McDaniel (1895 - 1952) in a maid's uniform, circa 1935.

McDaniel ceaselessly donned a maid’s uniform for the quite a lot of roles she performed right through her profession.

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There, McDaniel advanced her trademark persona: an assertive “Mammy” that poked a laugh on the racist archetype of a sassy maid.

Supply: Self-importance Truthful; Colorado Digital Library

McDaniel launched into a radio profession within the mid-Nineteen Twenties. In 1931, she carried out on radio as ‘Hello-Hat Hattie,’ a bossy maid who quips again at her employers.

Actress Hattie McDaniel performs on her CBS radio program "THE BEULAH SHOW" on November 11, 1947, in Los Angeles, California.

McDaniel would proceed functioning on radio, together with the hit program ‘The Beulah Display’ on CBS.

CBS by way of Getty Photographs

Supply: Kansas Historic Society

McDaniel performed the position of a maid a minimum of 74 occasions right through her profession, together with in motion pictures like “I am No Angel,” “China Seas,” and “Homicide via Tv.”

Actress Shirley Temple, Evelyn Venable, and Hattie McDaniel in a scene from the movie "The Little Colonel"

Shirley Temple, Evelyn Venable, and Hattie McDaniel in a scene from the film “The Little Colonel.”

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McDaniel nabbed her first talking phase within the 1932 film “The Golden West,” through which she performed a maid.

Supply: Harper’s Bazaar; Smithsonian Mag

In 1937, McDaniel received the fierce pageant for the a part of Mammy in ‘Long gone with the Wind,’ even reportedly beating out Eleanor Roosevelt’s personal maid.

gone with the wind mammy

Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel in “Long gone with the Wind.”

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McDaniel went to her audition wearing a maid’s uniform and in the long run secured the phase.

Supply: Self-importance Truthful; Harper’s Bazaar; Smithsonian Mag

On February 29, 1940, McDaniel made historical past via changing into the primary Black particular person to win an Academy Award for her position in ‘Long gone with the Wind.’

Black and white photo of Hattie McDaniel in a dress smiling and holding her award plaque.

Hattie McDaniel together with her 1940 Very best Supporting Actress Oscar award for “Long gone with the Wind.”

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“I sincerely hope that I shall all the time be a credit score to my race and the movement image trade,” McDaniel stated in her acceptance speech.

Supply: Self-importance Truthful; Harper’s Bazaar; The Atlantic

McDaniel died of breast most cancers in October 1952, however the Hollywood Without end Cemetery proprietor refused to permit her to be buried there.

A memorial to Hattie McDaniel in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

A memorial to McDaniel used to be created on the Hollywood Without end Cemetery after her demise.

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McDaniel had stated that she sought after to be buried in Hollywood Without end Cemetery, the place white movie stars like Douglas Fairbanks and Rudolph Valentino rested. However the authentic proprietor of the cemetery refused, and McDaniel used to be buried in Rosedale Cemetery, her 2d selection, after her demise in 1952.

The present homeowners of the Hollywood Without end Cemetery later commemorated McDaniel with a cenotaph.

“Aunt Hattie, you’re a credit score in your craft, your race, and in your circle of relatives,” the cenotaph reads.

Supply: Self-importance Truthful

Correction: March 11, 2023 — An previous model of this tale misstated McDaniel’s delivery 12 months. It’s disputed whether or not she used to be born in 1893 or 1895, now not 1983.

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