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Hattie McDaniel

Essay by   •  December 16, 2010  •  Essay  •  478 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,911 Views

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Hattie McDaniel was the first Africa American to receive an Academy Award. She was born on June 10, 1895 in Wichita, Kansas. Her father was a Baptist minister and her mother was a singer in the church. She also had two siblings, Sam and Etta McDaniel. She dropped out of school when she was 15 to join a minstrel show. She went on tour with them until the Great Depression started. During that time, she won a medal in dramatic arts. Then, she started a career as a band vocalist in an orchestra and went on tour with the orchestra in 1915. She became the first African American to sing on the radio in the US. In 1922 she married George Langford. He was shot and died the same year she married him. In 1931 she went to Hollywood to find a job as an actress. She began as an extra. When she could not find work as an actress she would work as a maid, a cook, or a washerwoman. Then, she moved to Los Angeles where her brother found a part for her on a radio show called "The Optimistic Do-Nuts." She soon became the main attraction of the show.

Hattie's first major film appearance was in the 20th Century-Fox film called Judge Priest in 1932. She sang a duet with Will Rogers in this film. She was also in almost 50 other movies in the 1930's. She was most well known for staring in Gone with the Wind. In this movie she played Mammy, the maid of Scarlet O'Hara.

In 1938 Hattie married Howard C. Hickman who was also an actor. They got a divorce in 1938. He died in 1949 from a heart attack.

In 1939 Hattie received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Gone with the Wind. Hattie received the loudest applause as she won the Oscar. She was the first African American to receive an Academy Award.

In 1947 Hattie became the star of a radio show called The Beulah Show. This show left the radio and be came a television show. During this time she married Larry Williams who was an interior designer. They got divorced a year later.

Hattie stayed on the Beulah Show until she died on October 2, 1952 from cancer. Her last request was to be buried in Hollywood Memorial Park where all the other movie stars were buried, but the cemetery only let white people be buried there, so instead she was buried in Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles. In 1999 they built her a memorial in the Hollywood Memorial Park.

I admire Hattie McDaniel because although she was black,

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