Louise Beavers Wiki, Biography, Age, Family, Height, Net Worth, Fast Facts

Louise Beavers (March 8, 1902 – October 26, 1962)  was an American film and television actor. From the 1920s until 1960, Beavers appeared in dozens of films and two hit television shows. She was most often cast in the roles of a maid, servant or slave.[2]

Early life

Beavers was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to school teacher Ernestine (Monroe) Beavers and William M. Beavers, who was originally from Georgia. Due to her mother’s illness, Louise and her parents moved to Pasadena, California. She graduated from Pasadena High School in 1920.[3]

In Pasadena, she attended school and engaged in several after-school activities, such as basketball and church choir. Her mother also worked as a voice teacher and taught Louise how to sing for concerts.[4] In June 1920, she graduated from Pasadena High School. She worked as a dressing room attendant for a photographer and served as a personal maid to film star Leatrice Joy.[3]

Like her cousin, Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company co-founder, George Beavers, Jr., Louise Beavers was a prominent and active member of the African American community in Los Angeles. She was involved in community functions, from the People’s Independent Church, where she helped develop the theater program of the Young People’s Lyceum, to the 1939 public ceremonies celebrating development of the all-black resort, Val Verde County Park.

She was in a group called the Lady Minstrels, a group of young women who staged amateur productions and appeared on stage at the Loews State Theatre. Either her career began with her performance in the Lady Minstrels or in a contest at the Philharmonic Auditorium, which occurred later. Charles Butler from the Central Casting Bureau, who was known for being an agent for African American actors, saw the performance and recommended that Beavers try for a role for a movie.[3]

At first she was hesitant to try out for movies because of how black Americans were portrayed in movies and how Hollywood encouraged these roles. She once said, “In all the pictures I had seen… they never used colored people for anything except savages.”[3] Despite this, she tried out for a part in the film Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1927), and won the part.

Acting career

Beavers started her career in the 1920s. At the time, black people in films were limited to acting in only very few roles, usually as slaves or domestic help. She played the “mammy” in many of the movies in which she acted. She started to gain more attention in the acting world after she played the role of Julia in Coquette (1929), which starred Mary Pickford. In this film, she played the black maid and mother figure to a young white woman.[3]

She once received a review which stated,

“Personally, Miss Beavers is just splendid, just as fine as she appears on screen, but she also has a charm all her own, which needs no screen role for recognition. She has a very pleasing personality, one that draws people to her instantly and makes them feel that they are meeting a friend instead of a Hollywood Star.”[3]

Beavers often played roles in which she helps a white protagonist mature in the course of the movie.

Beavers played Delilah in Imitation of Life (1934) in a dramatic role. Her character again plays a black housekeeper, but instead of the usual stereotypical comedic or purely functional role, Delilah’s story line is a secondary parallel plot. The public reacted positively to Beavers’s performance.[3] It was not only a breakthrough for Beavers, but was also “the first time in American cinema history that a black woman’s problems were given major emotional weight in a major Hollywood motion picture”. Some in the media recognized the unfairness of Hollywood’s double standard regarding race. A contributor to California Graphic Magazine wrote: “the Academy could not recognize Miss Beavers. She is black!”[3]

In the motion picture Holiday Inn (1942), in a celebration for Lincoln’s Birthday, there was a big minstrel show number, “Abraham,” which featured musical performances by Beavers as Mamie and Bing Crosby as Jim Hardy (who performs in traditional blackface makeup). This number, as well as the scene itself, are sometimes cut from the film’s showings on television.[5]

Beavers, who was raised in the North and in California, had to learn to speak the Southern Negro dialect. As Beavers’s career grew, some criticized her for the roles she accepted, alleging that such roles institutionalized the view that blacks were subservient to whites. Beavers dismissed the criticism. She acknowledged the limited opportunities available, but said: “I am only playing the parts. I don’t live them.” As she became better known, Beavers began to speak against Hollywood’s portrayal and treatment of African Americans, both during production and after promoting the films. Beavers became active in public life, seeking to help support African Americans. She endorsed Robert S. Abbott, the editor of The Chicago Defender, who fought for African Americans’ civil rights. She supported Richard Nixon, whom she believed would help black Americans in the United States in the civil rights battle.[3]

Beavers was one of three actresses (including Hattie McDaniel and Ethel Waters) to portray housekeeper Beulah on the Beulah television show. That show was the first television sitcom to star a black person. She also played a maid, Louise, for the first two seasons of The Danny Thomas Show (1953–1955).[citation needed]

Marriage

Beavers married Robert Clark in 1936. He later became her manager. She not only worked in movies, but also on “twenty-week tours of theaters that she conducted annually”.[3] Beavers and Clark later divorced and remarried. Much later, in 1952, Beavers married Leroy Moore, who was either an interior designer or a chef (varying sources); they remained married until her death in 1962.[3] She had no children.

In later life, Beavers was plagued by health issues, including diabetes. She died on October 26, 1962, at the age of 60, following a heart attack, at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles.[citation needed]

Beavers was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1976. Beavers was an honorary member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority, one of the four African American sororities.

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About Anne Tyler 49900 Articles
Anne Tyler's career as a writer spans fifty years and twenty novels including Breathing Lessons, The Accidental Tourist and 2015's A Spool of Blue Thread. She has won numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critic Circle Award.