33 Hattie McDaniel Quotes from American Actress and Comedian

Hattie McDaniel was the first African American to win an Academy Award for her role in “Gone with the Wind”.

Starting as a performer in minstrel groups she became a notable radio and movie actress despite racial barriers.

Known for playing maids she famously said she preferred acting as one rather than being one.

Her roles in films like “The Little Colonel” and “Alice Adams” were memorable.

Hattie McDaniel Quotes

She passed away in 1952 after a heart attack and battling breast cancer.

Here are some of the most popular quotes by Hatti McDaniel.

Best Hattie McDaniel Quotes


Faith is the black person’s federal reserve system. ~ Hattie McDaniel.


The only choice permitted us is either to be servants for $7 a week or to portray them for $700 per week. ~ Hattie McDaniel.


It’s not how much can I spare; it’s how much have I? ~ Hattie McDaniel.


A woman’s gifts will make room for her. ~ Hattie McDaniel.


In my life, God comes first, work second, and men third. ~ Hattie McDaniel.


We all respect sincerity in our friends and acquaintances, but Hollywood is willing to pay for it. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

I’d rather make $700 a week playing a maid than earn $7 a day being a maid. ~ Hattie McDaniel.


Every actor and actress is possessed of the absorbing passion to create something distinctive and unique. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

I am loathe to get married again. I’ve been married enough; I just prefer to forget it. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

Top Hattie McDaniel Quotes


I’m letting no man handle my bank account. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

My desire for the part of Mammy was not dominated by selfishness for Hollywood has been good to me and I am grateful. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

That’s a powerful lucky rabbit’s foot. I got the part in Gone With the Wind because of it. I got my Warner contract, thanks to it. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

I sincerely hope that I shall always be a credit to my race, and to the motion picture industry. ~ Hattie McDaniel.


The entire race is usually judged by the actions of one man or woman. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

I always have the best of everything. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

You have to stand tall in the face of adversity and prejudice. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

Famous Hattie McDaniel Quotes

It sure looks good to see an honest-to-goodness audience after looking at you all for so long from the silver screen. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

As for those grapefruit and buttermilk diets, I’ll take roast chicken and dumplings. ~ Hattie McDaniel.


Putting a little time aside for clean fun and good humor is very necessary to relieve the tensions of our time. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

When I was little, my mother taught me how to use a fork and knife. The trouble is that Mother forget to teach me how to stop using them! ~ Hattie McDaniel.

I cannot help but feel sad when I look over a crowd of our fine young men and realize that the world has found no better way to solve its problems than by taking so many of these young lives. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

I am proud of my standing as a woman interested in her race. ~ Hattie McDaniel.


When I was 8 years old, I knew what I was going to be – an actress. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

I’ve played everything but a harp. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

Great Hattie McDaniel Quotes

What is the thing that Hollywood demands most? Sincerity. No place in the world will pay such a high price for this admirable trait. ~ Hattie McDaniel.


I did my best, and God did the rest. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

Always remember this: There are only eighteen inches between a pat on the back and a kick in the rump. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

In playing the part of Mammy, I tried to make her a living, breathing character, the way she appeared to me in the book. ~ Hattie McDaniel.


I don’t belong on this earth. I always feel out of place – like a visitor. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

You can best fight any existing evil from the inside. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

I’d rather play a maid than be one. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

Popular Hattie McDaniel Quotes


Playing the Mammy of Miss Leigh was just about the biggest thrill I’ve ever had. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

Why should I complain about making $7,000 a week playing a maid? If I didn’t, I’d be making $7 a week being one. ~ Hattie McDaniel.

Here is a biography of the first African-American woman to win an Oscar.

So these were the 32 top Hattie McDaniel quotes and sayings.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Daniel Boone quotes and Jimmy Butler quotes.

Short Biography of Hattie McDaniel

Hattie McDaniel, an iconic American actress and singer-songwriter, made history as the first African American to win an Oscar for her role in “Gone with the Wind.”

Despite facing racial barriers, she achieved significant milestones, including recording blues music and being a pioneering Black woman on the radio.

McDaniel’s career spanned over 300 films, though she was given credit in only 83.

Full NameHattie McDaniel
Born10 June 1893, Wichita, Kansas, United States
Died26 October 1952 (age 59 years), Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, U.S.
Resting PlaceAngelus-Rosedale Cemetery (West Adams, Los Angeles, U.S.)
EducationDenver East High School
Occupation(s)Actress, singer-songwriter and comedienne
Years Active1920–1952
AwardsAcademy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
SpouseLarry Williams (m. 1949; div. 1950), James Lloyd Crawford​(m. 1941; div. 1945)​, George Langford(m. 1922; died 1925)​, Howard Hickman​(m. 1911; died 1915)​
SiblingsEtta McDaniel, Sam McDaniel, Otis McDaniel, Orlena McDaniel

Her life was marked by her struggle against racism, notably during the “Gone with the Wind” premiere and Oscars.

Born to formerly enslaved parents, she grew up in a large family and showcased her talents early on.

McDaniel’s journey from minstrel shows to Hollywood stardom was fraught with challenges, but she persevered, leaving a lasting legacy in film and music.

Quick Facts about Hattie McDaniel

  • Hattie McDaniel was the first African American to win an Oscar.
  • She was honored with a U.S. postage stamp in 2006.
  • McDaniel recorded 16 blues tracks between 1926-1929.
  • She was the first Black woman to sing on radio in the U.S.
  • McDaniel appeared in over 300 films but was credited in only 83.
  • She faced racial segregation and couldn’t attend her own movie premiere in Atlanta.
  • Born to formerly enslaved parents in Wichita, Kansas, in 1893.
  • Moved with her family to Colorado, where she attended Denver East High School.
  • Started her career in her brother’s minstrel show before moving to radio and recording.
  • Became a regular performer at Sam Pick’s Club Madrid after the stock market crash.
  • Moved to Los Angeles in 1931, where she also worked as a maid.
  • Made her first film appearance in “The Golden West” (1932).
  • Won her Oscar for the role of Mammy in “Gone with the Wind” (1939).
  • Sat at a segregated table at the Oscars ceremony.
  • McDaniel’s Oscar win was both a personal victory and a subject of controversy.
  • She died of breast cancer in 1952 and was buried in Rosedale Cemetery due to segregation.
  • McDaniel has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • Inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1975.
  • Her estate was valued at less than $10,000 at her death, with debts exceeding this amount.
  • Her Oscar went missing from Howard University in the 1960s or 1970s.
  • In 2023, the Academy announced it would replace McDaniel’s missing Oscar.
  • McDaniel faced criticism from the Black community for the roles she played.
  • Her career and legacy were celebrated in the AMC film “Beyond Tara” (2001).
  • McDaniel was posthumously inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 2010.
  • Mo’Nique paid tribute to McDaniel at the 2010 Oscars.
  • McDaniel helped organize Black homeowners in the West Adams neighborhood to fight restrictive covenants.
  • Her house in West Adams became a center for community and celebrity gatherings.
  • McDaniel served as chairman of the Negro Division of the Hollywood Victory Committee during WWII.
  • She was a founding member of the Los Angeles chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority.
  • McDaniel’s story was fictionalized in the 2020 Netflix mini-series “Hollywood”.

Top Questions about Hattie McDaniel

Q: Who was the first African American to win an Academy Award?

A: Hattie McDaniel was the first African American to win an Academy Award.

Q: What role did Hattie McDaniel play to win her historic Academy Award?

A: Hattie McDaniel won the Academy Award for her role as Mammy in “Gone with the Wind.”

Q: Where was Hattie McDaniel born and where did she pass away?

A: Hattie McDaniel was born in Wichita, Kansas, and she passed away in Hollywood, California.

Q: How was Hattie McDaniel treated at the Oscars?

A: Hattie McDaniel experienced segregation at the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles, where she was seated at a separate table on the side of the room.

Q: How much did Hattie McDaniel earn for her role in “Gone With the Wind”?

A: For her role in “Gone With the Wind,” Hattie McDaniel was paid $450 a week during the filming period.

Q: How did Hattie McDaniel make a significant impact on the world?

A: Hattie McDaniel made history as the first African American to win an Academy Award for her role in “Gone With the Wind,” paving the way for future generations of Black artists.

Q: What is Hattie McDaniel’s legacy?

A: Hattie McDaniel’s legacy is marked by her historic Oscar win as the first Black actor to receive the award, a distinction she held alone for 51 years. She also left her Oscar plaque at Howard University to inspire Black artists.

Q: What was Hattie McDaniel’s early life like?

A: In Denver, Hattie McDaniel developed her passion for song and dance from a young age, often performing poetry and songs at her elementary school.

Q: Before becoming an actress, what type of work did Hattie McDaniel do during the Great Depression?

A: During the Great Depression, Hattie McDaniel worked as a bathroom attendant at Sam Pick’s club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Q: How did Hattie McDaniel break into performing at Sam Pick’s club, despite its usual hiring practices?

A: Some patrons of Sam Pick’s club recognized McDaniel’s vocal talents and encouraged the owner to hire her, leading to her performing there for more than a year.

Q: What was the name of the local radio show in Los Angeles that gave McDaniel a small role, leading her to become its main attraction?

A: The local radio show was called “The Optimistic Do-Nuts.”

Q: In what year did Hattie McDaniel make her film debut?

A: Hattie McDaniel made her film debut in 1932.

Q: What was Hattie McDaniel’s response to criticism about the roles she played in films?

A: Hattie McDaniel responded to criticism by saying she would rather play a maid in the movies than be one in real life.

Q: Which film featured McDaniel’s memorable performance as a grumbling maid, making a dinner party scene notably entertaining?

A: The film was “Alice Adams” (1935).

Q: How did Hattie McDaniel contribute to the entertainment of Black troops during World War II?

A: She organized entertainment for Black troops during World War II.

Q: What radio program did Hattie McDaniel star in, becoming the first African American to lead a weekly show for a general audience?

A: Hattie McDaniel starred in “The Beulah Show.”

Q: What year did McDaniel begin filming a television version of “The Beulah Show” before her health declined?

A: She began filming the television version in 1951.

Q: What serious health issue did Hattie McDaniel face in 1951 while working on the television adaptation of “The Beulah Show”?

A: Hattie McDaniel had a heart attack in 1951.

Q: Despite her health challenges, what was McDaniel able to do in 1952 related to her radio career?

A: Despite her health challenges, Hattie McDaniel was able to tape a number of radio shows in 1952.

Q: What was the cause of Hattie McDaniel’s death?

A: Hattie McDaniel died of breast cancer.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar