When Gone with the Wind was released, critics were flabbergasted by the willing participation from black actors to be in the film. Hattie McDaniel was at the center of this controversy. She really wanted the part, but she couldn’t foresee, or, maybe she just didn’t care, about the backlash.
"Mammy" is only one role of many that made up Hattie McDaniel's multi-faceted career. She was also a singer, a songwriter, a stage and vaudeville veteran, a comedian, and a radio personality. In this episode, we follow her journey from Denver, Colorado to Hollywood.
In the last episode of the season, we look at Lupe’s and Dolores’ careers in the late 1930s to the mid 1940s, when both women leave Hollywood when it becomes an unwelcome space and place. Season 2 begins June 19.
In this episode, we look at Dolores’ career during the Hollywood transition to sound film. The coming of sound limited Dolores’ roles. They became more stereotypical and forgettable. With her accent, sound amplified the difference that her Spanish señorita persona had overcome.
In this episode, we see how Lupe Vélez rose to stardom in Dolores’ shadow and how the differences between her and Dolores evolved along simple, fraught, lines. Dolores was the “good” Mexican, and Lupe, in her relationship with actor Gary Cooper, became the "bad Mexican."
In this episode Dolores Del Río becomes a transnational superstar when she undergoes a makeover where she seemingly leaves behind her Mexicanidad and assumes a Spanish identity. Interestingly, this parallels Southern California's own transformation, which covered over its Mexican past in favor of a mythical Spanish heritage.
This is episode one of Season 1: Lupe Vélez and Dolores Del Río, Las Reinas — the Queens — of Los Angeles. We start in 1920s Mexico, where Lupe and Dolores grew up and found their love for performance. We’ll follow Lupe and Dolores as they make their way to Hollywood from Mexico and taste their first sips of stardom.
Hollywood in Color is a new podcast telling the stories of the stars usually left out of entertainment history — the people of color in front of and behind the camera who have been representing for over a century. Season 1 begins April 17. New episodes every Tuesday.