Monday, February 20, 2012
Office Hours: Where is Hattie McDaniel Buried?
[caption id="attachment_2103" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="Hattie McDaniel's house on W. 22nd St. in Los Angeles"][/caption]
Greetings Cosmic Americans!
An anonymous emailer wanted to know - so I did my homework and figured it out. You can find Hattie McDaniel's grave, not in Hollywood Forever where she wanted to be buried, but in Rosedale Cemetery off of Washington Street in Los Angeles. Racism dogged McDaniel to her grave. At the 1939 Academy Awards ceremony, where she won an Oscar for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Mammy in Gone With the Wind, she and her husband had to sit in a separate area outside the segregated main auditorium. In 1942, she had to launch a class action suit to purchase a home in what was then an exclusive all-white neighborhood - on the corner of W. 22nd Street and Harvard Avenue. When she died in 1952, Hollywood Forever, where she wished to be interred, was reserved for white people.
[caption id="attachment_2104" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Hattie McDaniel in Gone With the Wind"][/caption]
And thus her final resting place is Rosedale, established in 1892 - one of the few cemeteries in Los Angeles that allowed black interments. You can easily find her modest headstone today - near the Washington St. entrance and just to the left of the driveway. There is nothing there denoting her accomplishments either as an actress or an activist. Just her name and years of birth and death. While she is not surrounded by Hollywood superstars as she would have been at Hollywood Forever, she is in good company. Buried within Rosedale's 65 acres are several Civil War veterans, some of note, and a number of Los Angeles mayors and other prominent citizens.
PS - Youtube blocked my original video, which featured McDaniel's Oscar acceptance speech. Here is a clip (strangely, available on Youtube).