African-American film and television actress, Louise Beavers was born on this date March 8, 1902. Appearing in dozens of films from the 1920s until 1960, she most often appeared in the role of a maid, servant, or slave. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Beavers was a member of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority, one of the four African-American sororities.
Louise Beavers started her career in the 1920s during the time of racism towards African Americans because African Americans on film were stuck repeatedly in the same types of roles. Beavers had an attractive personality, and often played roles in which she helps a white protagonist mature in the course of the movie. In 1934, Beavers played Delilah in Imitation of Life, a leading role that was not overshadowed by a Caucasian lead actor or actress. Her character again plays a black maid, but instead of the usual stereotype of subservience, Delilah's role in the story line is equivalent to the Caucasian lead.
As Beavers' career grew, some criticized her for the roles she accepted, alleging that such roles institutionalized the view that African Americans were subservient to whites. Beavers dismissed the criticism.
Beavers was one of four actresses (including Hattie McDaniel, Ethel Waters, and Amanda Randolph) to portray housekeeper Beulah on the Beulah television show. That show was the first television sitcom to star an African American. She also played a maid, Louise, for the first two seasons of The Danny Thomas Show (1953–1955).
Later in her career, Beavers became active in public life, seeking to help support African Americans. She endorsed Robert S. Abbott, the editor of the Chicago Defender, who fought for African Americans' civil rights. She supported Richard Nixon, whom she believed would help African Americans in the United States in the civil rights battle
In later life, the actress was plagued by health issues stemming from obesity, including diabetes. She died on October 26, 1962, at the age of 60, following a heart attack, at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles; it was the 10th anniversary of the death of Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American actress to win an Academy Award