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Beulah TV Series

1952

Hattie's Role in the Film

Beulah

Hattie McDaniel stars in The Beulah Show

Beulah was an American situation-comedy series that ran on CBS Radio from 1945 to 1954 and on ABC Television. The show was notable for being the first sitcom to star an African American actress. The show was controversial for its caricatures of African Americans. From 1939 - 1946, the role of Beulah was portrayed by white men (Marlin Hurt and later Bob Corley). When Hattie McDaniel took over the role on November 24, 1947, she earned $1000 a week for the first season, doubling the ratings of the original series and pleased the NAACP which was elated to see a historic first: a black woman as the star of a radio network program.

Note: From 1947 to 1951, Hattie starred on the radio version of the show. Ethel Waters starred as Beulah for the first year of the television series before quitting in 1951. When production moved to Hollywood, Hattie McDaniel, star of radio's Beulah, was cast in the title role in the Summer of 1951, but only filmed six episodes before falling ill. She was quickly replaced by Louise Beavers in the latter part of 1951. The McDaniel episodes were shelved pending an improvement of her health, and so the second season began in April 1952 starting with the Beavers episodes. The six McDaniel episodes were tagged onto the end of the second season, starting July 1952 and running until August 1952. It was around this time that McDaniel learned that she had advanced breast cancer. She passed away on October 26, 1952 at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, CA.

Beulah