Louise Beavers ~ The Beloved Character Actress

 Louise Beavers

Louise Beavers was a popular black character actress who was typecast as a maid

She was born Louise Ellen Beavers on March 8, 1900 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her mother, Enestine Beavers, was a voice teacher who taught her how to sing. The family moved to Pasadena, California when she was a child. After graduating from high school she worked as a dressing-room attendant and was Leatrice Joyce's personal maid. Louise began her show business career singing with the Lady Minstrels, an amateur theater troupe. In 1927 she made her film debut in Uncle Tom's Cabin. The plus-sized actress had small roles in dozens of films including Bombshell, She Done Him Wrong, and Coquette. She became a popular character actress and was known for her vivacious personality. There were very few good roles for black actresses so she almost always played a maid. When people criticized her for playing servants she said "I am only playing the parts. I don't live them." Louise co-starred with Claudette Colbert and Fredi Washington in the 1934 drama Imitation Of Life.

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 Her performance as a devoted mother won rave reviews. She married her manager Robert Clark in 1936. The couple had a rocky relationship and separated several times. In 1939 she had the leading role in the low-budget drama Reform School. Louise auditioned to play Mammy in Gone With The Wind but lost the role to Hattie McDaniel. During the 1940s she continued to get small parts in films like Holiday Inn and Du Barry Was A Lady with Lucille Ball. Her ten marriage to Robert ended in 1946. On January 23, 1948 she married Leroy Moore, a professional chef. Louise played Jackie Robinson's mother in the 1950 drama The Jackie Robinson Story. Then she starred in the television series Beulah, one of the first sitcoms to feature a black actress. Unfortunately she struggled with numerous health problems including diabetes. Her final acting role was in a 1961 episode of The Dupont Show with June Allyson. Sadly on October 26, 1962 she died from a heart attack. She was sixty-two years old. Louise was buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

Louise BeaversLouise Beavers