Louise Beavers (March 8, 1900 – October 26, 1962) was an American film and television actress. Beavers appeared in dozens of films and two hit television shows from the 1920s until 1960, most often cast in the role of a maid, servant, or slave. She was a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority, one of the four African-American sororities.
Louise 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, which starred Mary Pickford. In this film she played the black maid and mother figure to a young white woman. 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." Beavers had an attractive personality, and often played roles in which she helps a white protagonist mature in the course of the movie. In 1934, Beavers played Delilah in Imitation of Life 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' performance. 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. For example, California Graphic Magazine wrote, "the Academy could not recognize Miss Beavers. She is black!" In the 1942 movie Holiday Inn, in the performance of "Lincoln's Birthday," there was a big minstrel show number, "Abraham," which featured performances by Bing Crosby (Jim Hardy) in blackface makeup and by Beavers as Mamie. This number, as well as the scene itself, are sometimes cut from the film's show on television, presumably because of the offensiveness of blackface.Beavers, who was raised in the North and in California, had to learn to speak the southern Negro dialect. As Beavers' 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 more famous, Beavers began to speak against Hollywood's portrayal and treatment of black 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 black Americans' civil rights. She supported Richard Nixon, who she believed would help black Americans in the United States in the civil rights battle.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).
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. 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. 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.There is uncertainty as to how Beavers began her acting career. She was in a group called the Lady Minstrels who were "a group of young women who staged amateur productions and appeared on stage at the Loews State Theatre". It was either her performance in this group 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 Louise try out for a role for a movie.” At first she was hesitant to try out for movies because of how African 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." Despite this, she tried out for a role in the film Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1927, and landed the part.
Movies & TV shows
The Facts of Life
Middle-class suburbanites Larry and Kitty grow bored with their lives and respective marriages. Although each always found the other's manner grating, they fall in love when thrown together--without t...
All the Fine Young Cannibals
An ambitious farm girl rushes into marriage with a rich man, almost destroying four lives in the process.
2 TV shows
Bourbon Street Beat
Bourbon Street Beat is a private detective series which aired on the ABC network from 1959-1960 and featured Richard Long as Rex Randolph, Andrew Duggan as Cal Calhoun, Van Williams as Kenny Madison, ...
The Swamp Fox
The story of Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, an American patriot who fought the British Tories using unusual methods, becoming known as “The Swamp Fox.”
You Can't Run Away from It
A reporter stumbles on a runaway heiress whose story could salvage his career.
Good-bye, My Lady
An old man and a young boy who live in the southeastern Mississippi swamps are brought together by the love of a dog.
Nancy Fallon gets her teenage daughter back from her ex-husband when she remarries and must win her love.
1 Movie · 1 TV show
Never Wave at a WAC
A divorced socialite decides to join the Army because she hopes it will enable her to see more of her boyfriend, a Colonel. She soon encounters many difficulties with the Army lifestyle. Moreover, her...
The Danny Thomas Show
Danny Thomas, an entertainer, tries to balance his home life with the needs of his career, with hilarious results.
The Hurley's own a lumber mill and want to harvest all the timber in the valley. They kill the Forester and substitute their brother Dusty in his place. Dusty then says all the trees are infected and ...
My Blue Heaven
Radio star Kitty Moran, long married to partner Jack, finds she's pregnant, but miscarries. For a change, the couple turn their act into a series on early TV and try to adopt a baby. Finally they acqu...
The Jackie Robinson Story
Biography of Jackie Robinson, the first black major league baseball player in the 20th century. Traces his career in the negro leagues and the major leagues.
Tell It to the Judge
Marsha Meredith, an attorney-at-law, is nominated for a federal judgeship, but her nomination is opposed by a 'Good-Government' group that thinks her divorce makes her unfit for the job. This evolves ...
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
An advertising executive dreams of getting out of the city and building a perfect home in the country, only to find the transition fraught with problems.
For the Love of Mary
Young girl gets a job at the White House as a switchboard operator and gets mixed up in politics.
Sam Clayton has a good heart and likes to help out people in need. In fact, he likes to help them out so much that he often finds himself broke and unable to help his own family buy the things they ne...
Young Sherry Williams dreams of having a singing career, and she idolizes her older sister Josephine, who has gone to New York to perform on the stage. When Sherry is distraught just before performing...
South of Dixie
To save their music publishing firm from bankruptcy, Bill "Brains' Watson creates a colorful life-story about his partner, Danny Lee, representing him as a descendant of Louisiana's famous Josh Lee fa...
A medicine man on the last show boat on the Mississippi is mistaken by two gangsters as a bootleger, and has to envade them.
Barbary Coast Gent
Honest Plush Brannon is a con-man thrown out of the Barbary Coast in San Francisco in the 1880s and headed for the gold rush region of Nevada. He discovers a real mine which lead to several complicati...
In this WW II musical, a young man suddenly finds himself in charge of his family when his father is called to war. To help the flagging spirits of local factory workers, the plucky lad, his siblings ...
There's Something About a Soldier
Five officer candidates fight to prove their mettle during training.
All by Myself
Career woman Jean. almost a partner in Mark's advertising firm, has been falling in love with Mark, who of course is unaware of it. But unknown to Jean, Mark has become engaged to singer Val. When Jea...
Good Morning, Judge
A songwriter is sued for libel, and when he gets to court he discovers that his girlfriend is the plaintiff's attorney.
Du Barry Was a Lady
Hat check man Louis Blore is in love with nightclub star May Daly. May, however, is love with a poor dancer, but wants to marry for money. When Louis wins the Irish Sweepstakes, he asks May to marry h...
Reap the Wild Wind
The Florida Keys in 1840, where the implacable hurricanes of the Caribbean scream, where the salvagers of Key West, like the intrepid and beautiful Loxi Claiborne and her crew, reap, aboard frail scho...
The Vanishing Virginian
The perineal District Attorney and conservative southern patriarch cherishes the old ways and does his best to adjust to change.
The Big Street
Meek busboy Little Pinks is in love with an extremely selfish showgirl who despises and uses him.
Little Deft Michigan follows the customs of old-world Holland and is known for its Tulip Festival. The owner of the hotel insists that his seven daughters marry in order, from eldest to youngest.
Lovely Linda Mason has crooner Jim Hardy head over heels, but suave stepper Ted Hanover wants her for his new dance partner after femme fatale Lila Dixon gives him the brush. Jim's supper club—Holiday...
Young America is a 1942 American drama film directed by Louis King and written by Samuel G. Engel. The film stars Jane Withers, Jane Darwell, Lynne Roberts, Robert Cornell, William Tracy and Roman Boh...
Sign of the Wolf
Two German shepherds and their mistress (Grace Bradley) crash-land in Canada by a fox breeder's (Michael Whalen) farm.
Shadow of the Thin Man
High society sleuths Nick and Nora Charles are investigating a race-track murder when they run into a lot of shady characters.
Post-Civil War romantic drama about defeated Southerners, starring Madeleine Carroll and Fred MacMurray.
Kisses for Breakfast
A newlywed develops amnesia and can't remember his wife.
After her family's mansion is burned down by Yankee soldiers for hiding the rebel leader Captain Sam Starr (Scott) Belle Shirley (Tierney) vows to take revenge. Breaking Starr out of prison, she joins...
There is a good-hearted and fancy free mother, her drunken father, her younger sister, and a mean-spirited grandmother who live in the same area. The Hill isn't a good part of the town. She hides her ...
Women Without Names
Joyce and Fred MacNeil's honeymoon comes to an abrupt and unsatisfying halt when Fred is accused of murder. Railroaded into prison through the efforts of politically ambitious assistant DA Marlin (Joh...
No Time for Comedy
Director William Keighley's 1940 film adaptation of S. N. Behrman's stage hit, about an aspiring playwright who finds himself an overnight Broadway success, stars James Stewart, Rosalind Russell, Gene...
I Want a Divorce
Comedy about newlyweds wondering if their marriage was a mistake.
This expose of the U.S. parole system, as seen through the eyes of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, takes dead aim on lawyers who manipulate the justice system in order to get undeserving convicts parole...
The Lady's from Kentucky
Good-natured gambler Marty Black falls into ownership of a booking joint but soon falls on hard times. His one out is a marker for half-ownership in a young thoroughbred, which he quickly calls in. He...
Made for Each Other
A couple struggle to find happiness after a whirlwind courtship.
Story of three buddies at the Virginia Military Institute. Cadet Bing Edwards is secretly married and soon to be a father.
Joe McKnight temporarily leaves his fiancée, Nora Langdon, for an expedition in a South American jungle. Nora gets a position as librarian in the small town of Midberg, where she boards with the Smith...
Peck's Bad Boy with the Circus
Trouble-prone Billy Peck and his gang descend on a traveling circus that has just hit town, and before long their antics are causing the circus owner all kinds of problems.
Make Way for Tomorrow
At a family reunion, the Cooper clan find that their parents' home is being foreclosed. "Temporarily," Ma moves in with son George's family, Pa with daughter Cora. But the parents are like sand in the...
The Last Gangster
A crime boss goes searching for his ex-wife and son after a ten-year prison stint. His old gang has other plans though, and use the child to try and make him disclose the location of the loot he hid b...
Wings Over Honolulu
A Navy pilot gets involved in a romantic triangle while stationed in Hawaii.
Wives Never Know
Homer Bigelow has an ideal marriage, with a wife who loves him very much as does he in return. Hilarity ensues when, his wife and him take "marital advice" from an old school friend, who thinks marri...
Bullets or Ballots
After Police Captain Dan McLaren becomes police commissioner, former detective Johnny Blake publicly punches him, convincing rackets boss Al Kruger that Blake is sincere in his effort to join the mob....
Rainbow on the River
A young boy is forced to leave his family in the South and move in with relatives he doesn't know in New York.
Orphaned shoeshine boy Spanky is working on a Mississippi riverboat during the Civil War. There he befriends young runaway slave Buckwheat. After wronging a vicious gambler, Spanky and Buckwheat are f...
Commodore Fitzhugh, an old retired naval officer, lives at the Annapolis Naval Academy and, unhappy with the "modern" navy, likes to talk about his days in the "old" navy, especially about his part in...
Mike Lee's syndicate runs all the gambling joints in town and is least profitable. Lady Lee is the only way she knows to make a living, because her father Mike walked out under pressure to allow cheat...
I Give My Love
After accidentally killing her no-good husband, Judy makes her true love promise not to tell her small son about his imprisoned mother. She is released ten years later...
A Modern Hero
A 1920s circus performer uses every means at his disposal to achieve fame and fortune at the expense of others.
Bob Brown uses his bedside manner to charm his patients while his partner makes the actual diagnoses.
I've Got Your Number
Two telephone repairmen have many adventures and romance a pair of blondes.
Merry Wives of Reno
This 1934 Warner Bros. screwball comedy-- featuring three Manhattan couples, two lost overcoats, and one sheep named Eloise--all converging in a hotel in Reno. With Glenda Farrell, Ruth Donnelly, Guy ...
A prominent New York doctor, unable to have a child, discovers her philandering husband has impregnated her best friend.
The Merry Frinks
An heiress abandons an out-of-work husband, two sons and a lovesick daughter.
Joe Palooka is a naive young man whose father Pete was a champion boxer, but his lifestyle caused Joe's mother Mayme to leave him and to take young Joe to the country to raise him.
In this sudsy hospital melodrama, a married nurse finds herself falling in love with one of two surgeons when her husband goes mad and needs an operation. One of the surgeon's regards his pursuit a la...
The Woman Condemned
Jerry Beall, a young newspaper reporter, intrigued by the charm and beauty of Barbara Hammond, a girl accused of murdering a female radio-star, sets out to prove her innocence in the face of a damagin...
Imitation of Life
A struggling widow and her daughter take in a black housekeeper and her fair-skinned daughter. The two women start a successful business but face familial, identity, and racial issues along the way.
West of the Pecos
Richard Dix stars as Pecos Smith, a strong, silent Westerner suspected of cattle rustling.
A producer puts on what may be his last Broadway show, and at the last moment a chorus girl has to replace the star.
What Price Innocence?
A young woman has to pay the price for fooling around with men.
The Phantom Broadcast
A handsome radio singer has it all--fame, money, adoring fans--but what no one knows is that his accompanist, a hunchbacked piano player, is actually the voice behind the arrogant, abusive "singer"'s ...
Aviator Jim Blaine and his brother Neil are rivals not only as daredevil flyers, but also for the love of parachutist Jill Collins.
On the back of the Wall Street Crash of 1929, a young business man is about to commit suicide. With the note to his wife scribbled down and a gun in his hand, he notices a thick envelope addressed to ...
A Shriek in the Night
Rival newspaper reporters Pat Morgan and Ted Kord find themselves unraveling the mystery behind the death of a millionaire philanthropist who fell from his penthouse balcony. When it is discovered tha...
The Midnight Patrol
Stan and Ollie were rookies when they bungled the investigation.
The scheme of a pair of married con artists goes awry when their victim dies, and they are both caught and imprisoned. When she gets out of prison, she tries to put her life back together.
Notorious But Nice
A lover selflessly steps aside to let her guy go so he can hook up with a rich dame. Sadly, the goodie good girl ends up marrying some scum bag gambler. When the scum bag is shot and killed, the littl...
Kay and June, two showgirls, are hurt when they seek financial help from Daisy. On Daisy's wedding night when she is rendered missing, Kay and June decide to look for her to claim the reward.
Hold Your Man
Ruby and Eddie are small time con men. Eddie accidentally killed the man they were setting up during the bungled blackmail scheme. Ruby will be sent to a reformatory for two years after Eddie takes of...
A woman is on trial for a crime. Her struggles to overcome poverty as a teenager include a mistaken arrest and prison term for theft and lack of employment, which lead to her involvement with mobsters...
The "sugar daddy" of a Broadway star hires a bodyguard to protect her from thieves out to steal the jewels he's given her and also from the attentions of other men, most notably the producer of the sh...
She Done Him Wrong
New York singer and nightclub owner Lady Lou has more men friends than you can imagine. One of them is a vicious criminal who’s escaped and is on the way to see “his” girl, not realising she hasn’t ex...
Her Splendid Folly
Solomon Ginsberg is the President of International Pictures Corporation and hires Joan McAllister, an unemployed stenographer, to double for his star, Laura Girard. While on a location trip, Laura is ...
The Story of Temple Drake
The coquettish granddaughter of a respected small-town judge is stranded at a bootleggers’ hide-out, subjected to an act of nightmarish sexual violence, and plunged into a criminal underworld that thr...
In the Money
When the chemical company owned by eccentric Professor Higginbottom files for bankruptcy, the formerly-affluent family loses its income. Levelheaded oldest daughter Lambie struggles to make ends meet ...
A glamorous film star rebels against the studio, her pushy press agent and a family of hangers-on.
A prison-camp convict learns that his younger brother will soon be joining him behind bars.
The Strange Love of Molly Louvain
A fast-talking reporter befriends a young woman and her male companion who are wanted for a policeman's shooting.
A debutante's (Helen Twelvetrees) brother (Robert Young) stands trial for killing her no-good lover.
Bret Harte's story Salomy Jane's Kiss provided the basis for a play (by Paul Armstrong and a number of films, including 1932's Wild Girl. Set in the High Sierras at the end of the Civil War, the "wild...
A wisecracking New York reporter intrudes on a research scientist's quest to unmask The Moon Killer.
It's Tough to Be Famous
Scotty, an unwilling Navy war hero is cast into the limelight. He wants to get married and be an engineer, but is forced to fulfil the expectations of the public, his employer and his PR agent, which ...
The Dark Horse
The Progressive Party convention is deadlocked for governor, so both sides nominate the dark horse Zachary Hicks. Kay Russell suggests they hire Hal Blake as campaign manager; but first they have to g...
Divorce In The Family
A child struggles to come to terms with his parents' divorce. Director Charles Reisner's 1932 drama stars Jackie Cooper, Lewis Stone, Conrad Nagel, Lois Wilson, Jean Parker and Louise Beavers.
Too Busy to Work
A hobo searches the countryside for the daughter he lost when his wife left him...
Street of Women
An architect has an affair with a woman who inspires him. Her brother is in love with the architect's daughter. The complicated entanglement leads to misunderstanding and dissolution, but ultimately l...
What Price Hollywood?
Sassy and ambitious waitress Mary Evans amuses and befriends amiable seldom-sober Hollywood film director Max Carey when he stumbles into her restaurant. Max invites Mary to his film premiere and, aft...
An elderly gentleman arrives for an extended stay with his grown son in Chicago.
Don't Bet on Women
At a big party, Roger Fallon, now a woman-hater, right to the core - this all due to a failed marriage and disastrous love affairs - talks to Herbert Drake. Herbert who is happily married, bets Fallon...
Girls About Town
A dynamic duo in silk and ermine entertain hick businessmen looking for a good time while in Manhattan.
Millie Blake is very careful about picking her husband, but that is no guarantee that a marriage will turn out well, nor that she will.
Party Husband finds ex-Ziegfield Girl Dorothy playing the better half of a thoroughly “modern marriage” whose openness threatens to bring about its premature end. Fellow Ziegfield alum Mary Doran play...
Dorothy, and her big city lawyer boyfriend, return to the Lazy 'B' ranch to read her late father's will. For Dorothy to inherit everything, she must stay on the ranch for 5 years. If she does not, eve...
Marilyn Parker (Linda Watkins, a young unsophisticated wife, who while her husband, Rex Parker (Alan Dinehart), is in Europe on "business" but took his mistress, Peggy Burns (Greta Nissen), with him, ...
Ladies of the Big House
A woman (Sylvia Sidney) tries to save her husband (Gene Raymond) from the electric chair after both are sent to prison for a murder they didn't commit.
Dolores Costello (as Vallery Grove) is in love with Chester Morris (as Don Warren) but her mother opposes the match because he is poor and has no social standing. Chester decides to terminate his enga...
She Couldn't Say No
A night club singer falls for a gangster.
Mary Turner gets a three years prison sentence for a crime she didn't commit. Once released, she plots to get back at the man responsible for her conviction.
Our Blushing Brides
Three department store girls--Connie, Franky, and Jerry--share an apartment on West 91st Street in New York City. Each earns little more than 20 dollars per week. Jerry is the sensible one, but the ot...
A spoiled young rich girl is sent to prison for accidentally running down a pedestrian. There she learns about a life and people she had never even imagined existed before.
True to the Navy
Ruby is a counter girl at the San Diego Soda Shop with a habit of being a girlfriend to Sailors stopping by. Things get a little zany when she sets her eyes on Bull's Eye McCoy a gunner who refuses to...
Bored with small town life, a woman leaves for the big city and winds up becoming the mistress of a ruthless businessman.
In this light-hearted musical, an early color film, a successful actress tires of the bustle and hustle of her tawdry life and settles down to what she thinks is the blissful mundaneness of married li...
Safety in Numbers
Before handing over a large inheritance, a guardian hires three chorus girls to educate his charge about the "underside" of big-city life.
The 1916 Alice Duer Miller play Come Out of the Kitchen, previously filmed in 1921 with Marguerite Clark, was expertly transformed into early musical Honey. The story takes place in a poverty-stricken...
An eccentric, fluttery bachelor is dismayed to discover an undressed woman in his apartment.
Outside the Law
Fingers is planning a half-million-dollar bank robbery in gang boss Cobra Collins' territory. Fingers' moll Connie tries to bluff Cobra into thinking the hit won't be for another week when the call co...
A very topical early talkie from low-budget company Columbia Pictures, Wall Street starred Ralph Ince, brother of producer Thomas H. Ince, as Roller McCray, a steelworker turned ruthless tycoon whose ...
A criminal known as Thunderbolt is imprisoned and facing execution. Into the next cell is placed Bob Morgan, an innocent man who has been framed and who is in love with Thunderbolt's girl, without kno...
This film revolves around Election Day, a day on which Jay R. and Joe are fighting to get votes. They warn the kids that they'll be socked in the jaw if they don't vote for them, but the kids are just...
Glad Rag Doll
Glad Rag Doll is a 1929 American Pre-Code drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Dolores Costello. This is one of many lost films of the 1920s, no prints or Vitaphone discs survive, but th...
Barnum Was Right
Freddie owns a failing old hotel. To attract new business he spreads the rumor that there's pirate treasure hidden somewhere in the building.
A Southern belle's flirtation with a working man leads to tragedy.
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