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TCM Presents ... There's No Place Like Hollywood / A Hattie McDaniel signed contract for Gone With The Wind

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Lot 154
A Hattie McDaniel signed contract for Gone With The Wind
24 November 2014, 13:00 PST
New York

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A Hattie McDaniel signed contract for Gone With The Wind

Typed document signed by McDaniel, and by Daniel T. O'Shea on behalf of Selznick International Pictures, 15 pp, 4to, Culver City, California, January 27, 1939. Together with a typed summary of the contract, 2pp, n.p., n.d. (but contemporary with the original contract).
Provenance: Profiles in History, July 1997, accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity; Collection of William Quigley.

In addition to the nationwide press given to the search for an actress to play Scarlett, the remaining roles in Gone With the Wind were also the subject of fierce competition. Other actresses considered for the role of Mammy included Louise Beavers, Madame Sul-Te-Wan, Bertha Powell, and Hattie Noel. Many unknowns also sent letters to Selznick touting their suitability for the role, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt intervened on the behalf of the White House cook, Elizabeth McDuffie, who was duly given a screen test. Hattie McDaniel however, was the favorite of Clark Gable, having acted with him in China Seas (MGM, 1935). As the story goes, McDaniel appeared for her audition with Selznick in her version of a Southern maid's costume and the producer was so impressed that he claimed to be able to "smell the magnolias." She signed this contract the next month, agreeing to work for Selznick International for $450 per week, beginning on February 1, 1939. Roundly praised for her performance, Hattie McDaniel would go on to become the first African-American to win an Academy Award® and become an important part of film history.
8 1/2 x 11 in.

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