Beavers, Louise (1902–1962)

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Beavers, Louise (1902–1962)

African-American film actress of the 1930s and '40s. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on March 8, 1902; died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California, on October 26, 1962; graduated from Pasadena High School, June 1920; married LeRoy Moore.


Uncle Tom's Cabin (1927); Wall Street (1929); Golddiggers of Broadway (1929); Glad Rag Doll (1929); Barnum Was Right (1929); Coquette (1929); Nix on Dames (1929); Our Blushing Brides (1930); Back Pay (1930); She Couldn't Say No (1930); Wide Open (1930); Safety in Numbers (1930); Up for Murder (1930); Party Husband (1930); Reckless Living (1930); Sundown Trail (1930); Annabelle's Affairs (1930); Six Cylinder Love (1930); Good Sport (1930); Girls about Town (1930); Freaks (1932); Ladies of the Big House (1932); Old Man Minick (1932); Unashamed (1932); It's Rough to Be Famous (1932); Night World (1932); What Price Hollywood? (1932); Street of Women (1932); We Humans (1932); The Expert (1932); Wild Girl (1932); Jubilo (1932); Young America (1932); Divorce in the Family (1932); Too Busy to Work (1932); Girl Missing (1933); What Price Innocence? (1933); Her Bodyguard (1933); Bombshell (1933); Her Splendid Folly (1933); Notorious but Nice (1933); She Done Him Wrong (1933); Pick Up (1933); A Shriek in the Night (1933); I'm No Angel (1933); Imitation of Life (1934); I've Got Your Number (1934); Beside (1934); The Merry Frinks (1934); Cheaters (1934); Glamour (1934); I Believe in You

(1934); I Give My Love (1934); Merry Wives of Reno (1934); A Modern Hero (1934); Registered Nurse (1934); Hat, Coat and Glove (1934); Dr. Monica (1934); West of the Pecos (1934); Annapolis Farewell (1935); Bullets or Ballots (1936); General Spanky (1936); Wives Never Know (1936); Rainbow on the River (1936); The Last Gangster (1937); Make Way for Tomorrow (1937); Wings Over Honolulu (1937); Love in a Bungalow (1937); Scandal Street (1938); The Headleys at Home (1938); Life Goes On (1938); Brother Rad (1938); Reckless Living (1938); Peck's Bad Boy with the Circus (1939); Made for Each Other (1939); The Lady from Kentucky (1939); Reform School (1939); Parole Fixer (1940); Women Without Names (1940); I Want a Divorce (1940); No Time for Comedy (1940); Virginia (1941); Sign of the Wolf (1941); Belle Starr (1941); Shadow of the Thin Man (1941); The Vanishing Virginian (1942); Reap the Wild Wind (1942); Holiday Inn (1942); The Big Street (1942); Seventeen Sweethearts (1942); Tennessee Johnson (1942); There's Something about a Soldier (1943); Good Morning Judge (1943); DuBarry Was a Lady (1943); All by Myself (1943); Top Man (1943); Jack London (1944); Dixie Jamboree (1944); South of Dixie (1944); Follow the Boys (1944); Barbary Coast Gents (1944); Delightfully Dangerous (1945); Young Widow (1946); Banjo (1947); Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948); For the Love of Mary (1948); Good Sam (1948); Tell It to the Judge (1949); My Blue Heaven (1949); Girls School (1950); The Jackie Robinson Story (1950); Colorado Sundown (1952); I Dream of Jeannie (1952); Never Wave at a Wac (1953); Goodbye My Lady (1956); You Can't Run Away from It (1956); Teenage Rebel (1956); Tammy and the Bachelor (1957); The Goddess (1958); All the Fine Young Cannibals (1960); The Facts of Life (1961).

After performing the song "Pal of My Cradle Days" in an amateur contest at the Philharmonic Auditorium, Louise Beavers received a call from Central Casting in Hollywood. The first of her 125 film roles came in the silent version of Uncle Tom's Cabin for Universal Studios. In a day when bigotry and gender bias in the movie business circumscribed the roles available to black women, Beavers played stereotypical characters, prompting critic Donald Bogle to call her "the ever-enduring, resourceful mammy goddess."

Only occasionally was Beavers provided the opportunity to eschew the part of maid or white-child's "mammy" to display the broad range of her talent. Her role as the black mother of Fredi Washington in the Claudette Colbert film Imitation of Life received accolades from critic Jimmie Fidler, who singled her out as best performer of 1935. Another role as a mother, in The Jackie Robinson Story, allowed Beavers one more crack at breaking out of the mold.

In the early 1950s, she replaced Hattie McDaniel on the radio and television series "Beulah" with great success, and, in 1954, she renewed a friendship with Mae West to perform at the Congo Room in Las Vegas (the two had worked together in the film Bombshell in 1930). A member of the board of the Screen Actors Guild, Beavers often spoke to high school students and at community events. Louise Beavers was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1957.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts