Louise Beavers

1902 - 1962

1930s and 1940s film actress Louise Beavers was merely one of a dominant gallery of plus-sized and plus-talented African-American character actresses forced to endure blatant, discouraging and demeaning stereotypes during Depression-era and WWII Hollywood. It wasn't until Louise's triumphant role in Fannie Hurst's classic soaper Imitation of Life (1934) that a film of major significance offered a black role of meaning, substance and humanity. Despite the fact that Louise was playing yet another of her endless servile roles as housekeeper Delilah who works for single white mother Claudette Colbert, this time around her character was three-dimensional and not merely a source of servitude and/or or comic relief. She had her own dramatic story and brilliantly handled the heartbreaking co-plot of an appeasing single parent whose light-skinned daughter (played by Fredi Washington) went to cruel and desperate lengths to pass for white. While Louise certainly championed in the role and managed

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