Black Ambition, White HollywoodBook - 2005
An exploration of Hollywood racism as reflected in the life and career of the actress best known for her portrayal of "Mammy" in "Gone with the Wind" describes her denigration in spite of her Oscar-winning performance, her controversial decision to stickto stereotypical roles, and her successful efforts to integrate a Los Angeles neighborhood.
Best known for her Oscar-winning performance as Mammy in Gone With the Wind, Hattie McDaniel blazed a trail for black film actors, even as she drew criticism for portraying domestic servants. In this biography, Watts (history and film studies, California State U., San Marcos) examines various aspects of McDaniel's life and career, including her dealings with Hollywood power brokers and black political organizations. The volume also features a filmography and a section of family photos. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Blackwell North Amer
Hattie McDaniel is perhaps bestknown for her performance as Mammy, the sassyfoil to Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind, one of Hollywood's most revered -- and controversial -- films. McDaniel's Oscar win raised hopes that theentertainment industry was finally ready to createmore respectful, multidimensional roles for blacks.But under the aegis of studio heads eager to pleaseSoutherners, screenwriters kept churning out rolesthat denigrated the African-American experience.
Where McDaniel's stature and popularity shouldhave increased after Selznick's masterpiece cameout, as was the case for her white counterparts, hersdeclined, as an increasingly politicized black audienceturned against her. "I'd rather play a maid than be amaid," is how McDaniel answered her critics. Yet herflippant response belied a woman whose hardscrabblebackground rendered her emotionally conflictedabout the roles she accepted. Here, at last, in a finelytuned biography by Jill Watts, is her story.
Watts, a highly praised researcher and writer,shares little-known aspects of McDaniel's life, fromher dealings with Hollywood's power brokers andblack political organizations to her successful civilrights battle to integrate a Los Angeles neighborhood,revealing a woman hailed by Ebony as anachiever of "more firsts in Hollywood" than anyother black entertainer of her time.
An exploration of Hollywood racism as reflected in the life and career of the actress best known for her portrayal of "Mammy" in Gone with the Wind describes her denigration in spite of her Oscar-winning performance, her controversial decision to stick to stereotypical roles, and her successful efforts to integrate a Los Angeles neighborhood. 25,000 first printing.