Maybe it was mentioned in the recent “too white” Oscar flub-a-dub, but I’ll just rack ‘em up one more time for Hattie McDaniel.
If you’re asking “Who’s Hattie McDaniel?” you’re not a Gone With The Wind fan.
Hattie McDaniel (1895-1957) was “Mammy” in that remarkably durable romantic swashbuckler.
She also was the first black thespian to earn an Oscar. She took Best Supporting Actress in 1940, one of the eight Oscars awarded to Gone With The Wind.
Hattie had many talents. She sang in traveling minstrel groups as a teenager, and was one of the first black women to be a radio singer in the U. S.
She started doing films in 1932, and played the roles of maids and cooks in almost 40 films in the 1930s, capping that run with her memorable role as a house slave, opposite Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh.
Hattie’s portrayal of stereotypical black servants was criticized in some quarters, but she shrugged that off, saying she’d rather play a maid than be one.
Too bad it’s too late to say “You go, girl!”
p.s. my trusted personal advisor notes that Hattie—the only black person who was sitting down at the Oscar awards ceremony—wasn’t seated at one of the banquet tables with the white folks, she sat with her escort at a small round table near the kitchen door. Oh yeah, another thing: Clark Gable had intended to escort Hattie to the premiere of Gone With The Wind in Atlanta, but he was waved off—neither Hattie nor any other black person was allowed to attend the film showing.
Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2016 All rights reserved.