Today Juanita Moore, the Academy Award nominated actress who received accolades for her role as Annie Johnson in the 1959 version of Imitation of Life passed away today. She was believed to be 99 years old.
Although she will be primarily remembered for her role in Imitation of Life, Ms. Moore worked in theater, television, and film in a career that spanned nearly five decades. She was an amazingly talented actor.
Below is a scene from Imitation of Life in which Ms. Moore, as Annie Johnson, pays a final visit to her daughter Sarah Jane:
Claudia McNeil was born on August 13, 1917 in Baltimore, MD. Raised in NYC, Ms. McNeil’s first career was as a librarian. However, she began singing in nightclubs and was encouraged to try acting.
Although she had numerous roles throughout her career, Ms. McNeil is most fondly remembered for her portrayal of Lena Younger in both the stage and film versions of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. She received an Academy Award nomination for her role in the film.
When asked about her iconic role, Ms. McNeil was once quoted as saying “There was a time when I acted the role…Now I live it.”
Ms. McNeil appeared in other films includingBlack Girl (1972). She also appeared in the TV filmsRoll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1978), andRoots: The Next Generations (1979). She retired from acting 1983, ten years before she passed away on November 25, 1993.
The actress who costarred on “Moesha” and “The Parkers” was 48 years old. Her death was confirmed via the website Give Forward.com on the page that had recently launched to help the star pay for her increasing medical bills.
The statement reads as follows:
It is with a heavy heart that I can verify that Yvette passed away last evening after a lengthy and hard battle. She was a fighter to the end, and her talent, humor and amazing friendship will be sorely missed. She will live on through her awesome body of work. I would ask that you continue to donate on this page to support her family in this trying and sad time. Thank you SO much for your support and love for Yvette – she knew it, read your comments and it lifted her up. Again, thank you – Jeffrey Pittle
This is such a sad story. Before getting her big break on television, Yvette starred on Def Comedy Jam. Check her out below:
Yesterday, singer and actress Whitney Houston passed away. She literally provided the soundtrack to the lives of so many. Words can not sufficiently describe the magnitude of this loss. So I will let Whitney’s music speak for itself.
Today would have been Isabel Sanford’s 94th birthday. So in honor of that, I wanted to shine a spotlight on one of the most recognizable women in television history.
Born in 1917 in New York City to James Sanford and Josephine Perry, Isabel was a fighter at birth. She once stated:
I was the only child born to Josephine Perry that survived. Mama had six other children before me and all had passed very quickly and very young, all succumbing to a combination of illness and disease and the lack of strength to fight off both. As for me, I was both strong and healthy, and, if you believed the rumors, I wasn’t too bright.
Isabel always had a since of humor.
After years of working in theatre, Isabel made her film debut in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” In the film she played the role of Tillie Binks.
Her most recognizable role is that of Louise “Weezy” Jefferson. Isabel played the character on four different television series. The role originated on “All in the Family” in 1971. However, the role was made famous on the hit show “The Jefferson’s” where Isabel starred alongside Sherman Hemsley, Marla Gibbs, and Roxie Roker. She also did guest appearances on “Roseanne” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
In 1981, Isabel became the first African American woman to win an Emmy award for “Best Lead Actress in a Comedy.” See her acceptance speech below:
Isabel’s speech is a true indication of just how funny she was both on and off camera.2004 was shaping up to be a big year for Isabel. That year, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to Television history.
Isabel made her last on-screen television appearance at the TV Land Awards in 2004. She and her costar Sherman Hemsley accepted the award for Favorite Cantankerous Couple. Also known for her distinctive voice, Isabel voiced a character on The Simpsons.
On July 9, 2004, Isabel died in Los Angeles. She once said “I wasn’t young, I wasn’t pretty and I was a black woman looking for success in a business where those attributes were certainly not in demand in the 1960’s.” Isabel Sanford found the success that she desired and made history in the process. Her legacy will live on forever. Rest in Peace, Ms. Sanford.