When the toilets on the Gone With The Wind set were segregated, an 18-year-old extra named Lennie Bluett took Clark Gable on a special tour of the studio, opening his eyes to the hardships of being an African-American actor in the 1930s. Gable was so upset about what he saw that he called the director right away and threatened to quit the movie if the "white" and "colored" signs weren't taken down immediately.
Frankly, and thankfully, he did give a damn.
African-American actress Hattie McDaniel stole the show in Gone With The Wind, to the point where critics and audiences couldn't manufacture a reason not to nominate her for an Academy Award. McDaniel herself marched the glowing reviews of her portrayal of Mammy to her director's desk so he would make sure she was submitted for consideration. Not only was she nominated, she won. And she won against her white costars. But when it came time for the ceremony, McDaniel couldn't sit with them -- she had to sit at a separate table, and was only allowed into the building because her agent had called in some favors before the ceremony.
Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences
"Congrats on your hard work, I guess, but you did clean all the toilets, right?"
After getting an Oscar, Hattie was asked to dress up as her Mammy character and tour the country promoting the movie. Then she was cast in another 70 maid roles before dying of breast cancer in the early 1950s.
Good news for Judy Garland fans, though! Racial discrimination was the one area studios couldn't figure out how to screw her on.
Also check out 7 Popular Old-Timey 'Hobbies' That Will Give You Nightmares and 5 Horrifying Realities Of Daily Life Edited Out Of History.
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