Black Heritage Series
Issue Date: January 25, 2006
City: Beverly Hills, CA
Quantity Issued: 150,000,000
Hattie McDaniel (1895-1952), the youngest child of former slaves, was born in Wichita, Kansas, and raised in Denver, Colorado. She dropped out of high school to tour with vaudeville companies.
When McDaniel arrived in Hollywood in 1931, she supported herself working on radio and washing clothes. She soon began appearing in films, as many as 300, including roles as extras, maids, and chorus singers.
Due to the scarcity of roles for African-American actresses, McDaniel spent much of her 20-year career playing maids. She has been quoted as saying, “I’d rather play a maid than be one.”
McDaniel won an Academy Award as the year’s Best Supporting Actress for her role as “Mammy” in the 1939 film Gone With the Wind. She was the first African-American to win an Oscar.
From 1947 until 1952, McDaniel played the title role in The Beulah Show on national radio, the first radio show to feature a black star. Using her special talent for timing and comedy, the actress played a straight-talking black maid in a white household.
Movie actress, television and radio personality, and singer, Hattie McDaniel is the 29th honoree of the Black Heritage Series.