Juanita Moore Is No More

With James Avery passing away recently, it was also noted by Variety that Juanita Moore is no more.

Juanita Moore was recognized for her outstanding effort her role as Annie, in Douglas Sirk’s 1959 adaptation of Fannie Hurst’s novel Imitation of Life, by playing a black single mother burdened with raising a daughter on her own, with the daughter struggling with her mixed-race identity, who opts to pass for a white girl because of all the societal privileges it gave her access, and she grows to hate her mother for being black.

This was the second film adaptation of the novel, as the first film was released in 1934.

She also received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance in Annie- which, at the time, made her the 5th African American to be nominated for an Oscar in any category.

Moore started her career with local stage production at the Ebony Showcase Theater, and later on became a star of both stage and screen, and Moore was also a former Cotton Club chorus girl.

She made her first screen debut in 1949, by featuring in the film Elia Kazan’s Pinky, and she played a nurse-a role that went uncredited. The film was based on a light-skinned African American nursing student, played by Jeanne Crain. The film when released attracted both critical acclaim and controversy.

Like quite a few black actresses during that time period, the majority of the on-screen roles available to her were mostly of domestics, and it continued till 1959, which was a breakthrough in her life as she was casted as Annie Johnson, the hard-working housekeeper to actress Lora Meredith in Sirk’s 1959 version of Imitation of Life.

She also appeared in films like Tammy, Tell Me True(1961), Papa’s Delicate Condition (1963), and the The Singing Nun (1966), as she saw her casting fortunes expand somewhat, taking on matriarchal roles in movies like Uptight (1968), The Mack (1973) and Abby (1974).

Juanita Moore, born October 19, 1914, died today at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 99.

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