Beavers, Louise (1902-1962)

views updated

Beavers, Louise (1902-1962)

Louise Beavers, whose first film role was as a slave in the silent version of Uncle Tom's Cabin (1927), was cast as the happily devoted black servant during most of her career. However, she broke out of that type of role in Imitation of Life (1934) in her moving portrayal of the heartsick Aunt Delilah, whose light-skinned daughter denied her mother to "pass" as white. Even after this critically praised performance, Beavers returned to the limited servant-type character roles available to black actors during this period.

Beavers later moved to television and replaced Ethel Waters as the star of Beulah (1950-1953), the managing maid to the inept Hendersons, during its final season. The series gave Beavers star billing. However, she tired of the pace and stereotypical role and left the series while it was still popular.

—Denise Lowe

Further Reading:

Hill, George. Black Women in Television. New York, Garland Publishing, 1990.

MacDonald, J. Fred. Blacks and White TV. Chicago, Nelson-HallPublishers, 1992.