Hattie McDaniel was born on 10 th June 1895 in Kansas. By the age of fifteen she was working as a band vocalist, and her first movie came along when she was nearly forty years old. This was in the form of 1937 movie ‘The Golden West’. Hattie became well known for her maid or ‘mammy’ roles in a range of movies, most notably ‘Mammy’ in the 1939 movie ‘Gone with the Wind’.
During a time filled with racial tensions, Hattie did remarkably well, starring in movies with big names such as Clarke Gable, Vivien Leigh and Barbara Stanwyck and Katharine Hepburn. Her movies included ‘Judge Priest’, ‘Alice Adams’, and ‘The Mad Miss Manton’.
This matronly figure was the first African-American to win an Oscar for her supporting role in ‘Gone with the Wind’. She was earning around $1000 a week for that role, which was a great deal of money in those days. She was married four times in all, with her first husband being shot and killed not long after they married. Her father was a slave, but was eventually freed.Although Hattie broke the colour barriers in terms of her success in the movies, she couldn’t beat the system ultimately. She died in Hollywood in 1952 but her request to be buried in Hollywood was denied due to her colour.
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