Butterfly McQueen

Highest Rated: 92% Gone With the Wind (1939)
Lowest Rated: 76% The Mosquito Coast (1986)
Birthday: Jan 7, 1911
Birthplace: Tampa, Florida, USA
Born in Tampa, where her father worked as a stevedore and her mother as a maid, Thelma McQueen determined early in life to become a dancer. By age 13 she was living in Harlem performing with a dance troupe and theater company. While appearing in a 1935 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, she danced in the Butterfly Ballet, earning her professional name of Butterfly McQueen in the process (she hated the name Thelma and later had her new moniker legalized). Her first Broadway appearance in the 1937 George Abbott production Brown Sugar led to an even better assignment in the long-running stage comedy What a Life! This in turn led to her discovery by film producer David O. Selznick, who cast McQueen as the simple-minded slave Prissy ("I don't know nuthin' 'bout birthin' no babies!") in his super-production Gone With the Wind (1939). Though the role earned her worldwide fame, it also typecast her as screechy-voiced, hysterical domestics. Even so, she delivered memorable performances in such '40s productions as Cabin in the Sky (1943), Mildred Pierce (1945), and Selznick's Duel in the Sun (1946). Her inability to get along with most of her co-stars, coupled with her unhappiness over the film roles assigned her, prompted the actress to quit the movies in 1947. The ensuing two decades were not easy ones for McQueen; she was obliged to accept a dizzying series of clerical and domestic jobs, occasionally resurfacing in short-running stage productions and briefly co-starring as Oriole on TV's Beulah series. At one point, she served as hostess at the Stone Mountain Civil War Memorial Museum in Atlanta, GA. She returned to Broadway in 1964, and four years later scored a personal success with a tailor-made role in the off-Broadway musical spoof Curley McDimple. She came back to films in 1974 while pursuing a Political Science degree at New York's City College. In 1980, she won an Emmy for her performance in the TV special The Seven Wishes of a Rich Kid, and in 1986 made her final screen appearance (looking and sounding pretty much as she did back in 1939!) in Peter Weir's The Mosquito Coast. Butterfly McQueen was 85 when she died of burns sustained in a fire caused by a faulty kerosene heater.

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Polly Miss Priss 1989
76% The Mosquito Coast Ma Kennywick 1986
No Score Yet The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Actor 1981
No Score Yet Amazing Grace Clarine 1974
No Score Yet Killer Diller Actor 1948
80% Duel in the Sun Vashti 1946
86% Mildred Pierce Lottie 1945
No Score Yet Flame of Barbary Coast Beulah 1945
85% Cabin in the Sky Lily 1943
No Score Yet I Dood It Annette 1943
No Score Yet Affectionately Yours Butterfly 1941
92% Gone With the Wind Prissy 1939
92% The Women Lulu, Cosmetics Counter Maid 1939