Jump to content
Bellazon

Butterfly McQueen
Thumbnail


COP11
 Share

Recommended Posts

Thelma "Butterfly" McQueen (January 8, 1911 - December 22, 1995) was an American actress. Originally a dancer, McQueen appeared as Prissy, Scarlett O'Hara's maid in the 1939 film Gone with the Wind

Born Thelma McQueen

January 7, 1911

Tampa, Florida, U.S.

Died December 22, 1995 (aged 84)

Augusta, Georgia, U.S.

Occupation Actress

Years active 1939-1989

Early life

Born Thelma McQueen in Tampa, Florida, she had planned to become a nurse until a high school teacher suggested that she try acting. McQueen initially studied with Janet Collins and went on to dance with the Venezuela Jones Negro Youth Group. Around this time she acquired the nickname "Butterfly"—a tribute to her constantly moving hands—for her performance of the Butterfly Ballet in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (she had always hated her birth name, and later legally changed her name to Butterfly McQueen). She performed with the dance troupe of Katherine Dunham before making her professional debut in George Abbott's Brown Sugar.

Career

McQueen's first role would become her most identifiable —as Prissy, the young maid in Gone with the Wind, uttering the famous words: "I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies!" She also played an uncredited bit part as a sales assistant in The Women, filmed after Gone with the Wind but released before it. She also played Butterfly, Mary Livingstone's maid in the Jack Benny radio program, for a time during World War II. She appeared in an uncredited role in Mildred Pierce (1945) and played a supporting role in Duel in the Sun (1946). By 1947 she had grown tired of the ethnic stereotypes she was required to play and ended her film career.

From 1950 until 1952 she played another racially stereotyped role of Oriole on the television series Beulah. In a lighter moment, she appeared in a 1969 episode of The Dating Game.

Offers for acting roles began to dry up around this time, and she devoted herself to other pursuits including political study; she received a Bachelor's degree in political science from City College of New York in 1975. In 1979 McQueen won a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance as Aunt Thelma, a fairy godmother in the ABC Afterschool Special episode "The Seven Wishes of Joanna Peabody." She had one more role of substance in the 1986 film The Mosquito Coast.

Legacy and death

McQueen never married or had children. She lived in New York in the summer months, and in Augusta, Georgia during the winter. She died December 22, 1995 at the Augusta Regional Medical Center in Augusta, as a result of burns received when a kerosene heater she was attempting to light malfunctioned and burst into flames. A lifelong atheist, she donated her body to medical science and remembered the Freedom From Religion Foundation in her will.

Quotes

•"As my ancestors are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion." (this quote was used by the Freedom From Religion Foundation in advertisements inside Madison, Wisconsin buses in 2009).

post-37737-1281756741_thumb.jpg

post-37737-1281756746_thumb.gif

post-37737-1281756751_thumb.jpg

post-37737-1281756755_thumb.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...