Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shirley Booth and Hattie McDaniel

Who died on this date:

Actress Shirley Booth was born on August 30, 1898 in Brooklyn, New York. Primarily a theatre actress, Booth's Broadway career began in 1925. Her most significant success was as Lola Delaney, in the drama Come back, Little Sheba, for which she received a Tony Award in 1950. She made her film debut, reprising her role in the 1952 film version for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Despite her successful entry into films, she preferred stage acting, and made only four more films. From 1961 until 1966, she played the title role in the sitcom Hazel, for which she won two Emmy Awards, and was acclaimed for her performance in the 1966 television production of The Glass Menagerie. She retired in 1974 and died on October 16, 1992 after a brief illness at her home on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She is interred at Mount Hebron Cemetery, Montclair, New Jersey.

On October 26, 1952, actress Hattie McDaniel died. She was the first African-American to win an Academy Award was born in Wichita, Kansas. She began her career in show business in the 1910’s as a band vocalist, continued into radio, then into film, and television. Her award winning film career produced ninety-five motion pictures from 1932 to 1949. She is primarily known for playing house servant roles and is perhaps best recognized as Mammy – the house keeper in Gone with the Wind (1939). It was for this role that she won the best supporting actress Oscar in 1940. Her other notable films include: The Golden West (1932), Judge Priest (1934), The Little Colonel (1935), Show Boat (1936), The Mad Miss Manton (1938), The Shining Hour (1938), and Song of the South (1946). 

McDaniel died on October 26, 1952 at the Motion Picture and Television County Home in Woodland, Hills, California after a long battle with breast cancer. Her funeral service was held at the Independent Church of Christ in Los Angeles where numerous Hollywood dignitaries were in attendance. Outside the church thousands of people waited to pay their last respects to the famed actress. It was McDaniel’s express final wish to be buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, but she was denied such a request due to racial bias at the time. Instead she was interred at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles. Her unassuming grave is located near the front entrance to the cemetery. On the forty-seventh anniversary of her death, October 26, 1999, a memorial cenotaph marker was placed at Hollywood Forever Cemetery by relatives, partially fulfilling her final wish. 

1 comment:

  1. Only fitting that I make a comment about a great black actor at academy time and black history month.