Quest For A Hollywood Star
Speaker 1: 00:00 Our net more is launching a one man campaign to get his aunt, a posthumous star on the Hollywood walk of fame and her seven decade career Juanita Moore performed in more than 80 films and TV shows, but she was largely uncredited for many of our roles more. Got her big break in 1959 when she was cast in the film imitation of life, her performance earned her an academy award nomination for best supporting actress and more became the fifth black actor to be nominated for an Oscar. More was a trailblazer for other black actors over the course of her career. Speaker 2: 00:40 [inaudible] she was a show girl Speaker 3: 00:42 At 18 at smalls paradise at the Zanzibar club, several venues throughout New York during the Harlem Renaissance. This was in the thirties, Speaker 4: 00:53 That's her nephew, our net more he's 75 and he's on a lone mission to get her a star on the Hollywood walk of fame applications are due may 20. She Speaker 3: 01:05 Sang at the London palladium at the Moulin Rouge, and she even had a chance to sing and dance with Josephine baker and other prominent blocks. During that time, Speaker 4: 01:16 When Juanita returned to California and got into acting, she found it was hard to break out of stereotypical Speaker 3: 01:23 Roles. She was from the booed Wawa to the jungle. In other words, she played a maid to a Savage, and that was her early career. Speaker 4: 01:33 Those were the roles available to black women at the time Speaker 3: 01:37 Were the roles available to black women at, and one thing she wouldn't do is play the mammy fide role or the buffoon role. She would not do those. It wasn't Speaker 4: 01:49 Until 1959, when she started an imitation of life. That her true talents were finally recognized. Speaker 5: 01:56 I just want to look at you. That's why I can't. Oh, you're happy here. Are you finding what you really want from somebody else? Speaker 2: 02:07 I'm white, white Speaker 4: 02:12 Juanita plays Annie, a mom. Who's late skin daughter, Sarah Jane rejects her black identity and tries to pass. Speaker 2: 02:20 And if by accident we should ever pass on the street, please don't recognize me. I won't say I promise. I said that in my mind. Speaker 3: 02:32 I remember that it was a very emotional picture and it still remains. So I once was asked by a friend of mine. Did you cry during an imitation of life? I said, no, I didn't want him to think I cried. But yes, I cry even today. And I cried then. Oh, beautiful. Speaker 2: 03:00 I love you so much. Nothing you ever do can stop Speaker 4: 03:05 In 1995, Juanita talked about that role in an interview with Turner classic movies. She remembered what the film's producer Ross hunter told her when she got the part nearly 40 years earlier, Speaker 6: 03:18 He said, I've put my neck out for you. He said, if you know, good, the pitch is not going to be any good. And it just scared me to death. You know, to say that that's a lot of pressure. Speaker 3: 03:29 And she says that really, that was her coming out too. She had been in movies prior to that playing small parts and some uncredited parts, but this was her opportunity to bust out at 44 years old. Speaker 7: 03:46 Ladies and gentlemen, I've been asked to give the award for the best performance by an actress in a supporting role, or to put it more succinctly, the best picture. Still Speaker 4: 03:55 Juanita got an academy award nomination. Speaker 7: 03:58 The nominees are, am I in a badly for room at the top, Susan Kona for imitation of life wanting to move for imitation of life. Speaker 4: 04:07 Even though she didn't win. Juanita Moore was only the fifth black actor at that point to have been nominated for an Oscar. Speaker 3: 04:16 She was a trailblazer. She opened doors and today a lot of the actors of color are not having to deal with some of the things she dealt with. I'm not saying it's easy, but it's not like it was because of people like her and Sidney Portier and others that stuck their necks out early on Speaker 4: 04:39 After imitation of life, Juanita hoped she could star in her own films or at least be cast in more substantive roles, but she didn't get offered another part for Speaker 6: 04:49 A year. I didn't want to carry the trays anymore. And I knew that that was all on the kind of job that I was going to get. I knew that, but I did not want to do that. So I don't know if being nominated helped me or not, Speaker 4: 05:06 But true to her passion. She never quit acting. She went on to perform mostly small roles. Her last part was in 2000 as a grandmother in Disney's the kid with Bruce Willis. She died just before new year's day, 2014 at the age of 99 Arnett says when he was a kid growing up in LA, his aunt never talked much about her career. He's had to uncover her history himself after her death, including digging up hundreds of photos. Speaker 3: 05:38 Uh, this is my booklet that I put together on Juanita. That's Juanita Sam Davis, Jr. And they took this and send me wasn't even in the movie, but he was a friend of Juanita. Our Speaker 4: 05:52 Net is a retired salesman. He doesn't have big connections with the film, but over the last two years, he's launched a grassroots campaign for Juanita Moore to get a Hollywood star. Speaker 3: 06:04 You know, in the fifties, when I was growing up, when you saw a black person on the TV screen, you got excited and Juanita was that face you saw again and again and again, I'm very proud of her. Speaker 2: 06:22 She had her Speaker 3: 06:23 A lot of obstacles, the biggest one being racism. She's a star without a star, Speaker 4: 06:29 Our net plans to submit his nomination for Juanita Moore star for the third year in a row. If she's not selected this summer, he says, he's going to keep trying.