Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Juanita Moore has died

The death has been announced of actress Juanita Moore, who played the black maid mother of the mixed-race woman (played by Susan Kohner) who wants to pass for white in the 1950s version of Imitation of Life. Depending on the source, Moore was aged somewhere in her 90s: Variety says 99, but the IMDb says 92.

Moore, being a black actress in an earlier era and not exactly being glamorous, was consigned to playing maids and other servile characters, in movies such as Pinky, Queen Bee, and Ransom!, all of which I've blogged about before. Moore does well in Imitation of Life, and it's not her fault that either the script (or more likely Douglas Sirk's direction) takes the movie to places it really shouldn't be going. Moore deservedly earned an Oscar nomination, but only in the Supporting Actress category. Susan Kohner was also nominated, but they both lost to Shelley Winters for The Diary of Anne Frank.

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