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James Baskett
James Baskett
(February 16, 1904 – July 9, 1948) was an American actor known for his portrayal of Uncle Remus, singing the song "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" in the 1946 Disney feature film Song of the South. In recognition of his warm portrayal of the famous black storyteller he was given an Honorary Academy Award,[1] making him the first black male performer to receive an Oscar.[2]

Contents

1 Career

1.1 Academy Award

2 Illness and death 3 Filmography 4 See also 5 References 6 External links

Career[edit] After abandoning his studies of pharmacology for financial reasons, James Baskett
James Baskett
supported himself as an actor, moving from his home town of Indianapolis, Indiana
Indiana
to New York City, New York and joining the company of Bill Robinson, better known as Mr. Bojangles. As Jimmie Baskette, he appeared on Broadway with Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
in the all-black musical revue Hot Chocolates in 1929, and was announced for Hummin' Sam in 1933, although it failed to open. Mr. Baskett also acted in several all-black films made in the New York area, including Harlem Is Heaven
Harlem Is Heaven
(1932) starring Bill Robinson. He went to Los Angeles, California
California
and had a supporting role in Straight to Heaven (1939), starring Nina Mae McKinney, and bit parts in the films Revenge of the Zombies (1943) and The Heavenly Body
The Heavenly Body
(1944). He was invited by Freeman Gosden
Freeman Gosden
to join the cast of the Amos 'n' Andy
Amos 'n' Andy
radio show as lawyer Gabby Gibson, whom he portrayed from 1944 to 1948. In 1945, he auditioned for a bit part voicing one of the animals in the new Disney feature film Song of the South
Song of the South
(1946), based on the Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus
stories by Joel Chandler Harris. Walt Disney
Walt Disney
was impressed with Baskett's talent and hired him on the spot for the lead role of Uncle Remus. Baskett was also given the voice role of Brer Fox, one of the film's animated antagonists, and even filled in as the main animated protagonist, Brer Rabbit, in one sequence. This was one of the first Hollywood portrayals of a black actor as a non-comic character in a leading role in a film meant for general audiences.[3] Baskett was not allowed to attend the film's premiere in Atlanta, Georgia because Atlanta
Atlanta
was racially segregated by law.[4][5] Although Baskett was occasionally criticized for accepting such a "demeaning" role, his acting was almost universally praised, and columnist Hedda Hopper
Hedda Hopper
was one of the many journalists who declared that he should receive an Academy Award
Academy Award
for his work.[6] Academy Award[edit] On March 20, 1948, Baskett received an Honorary Academy Award
Academy Award
for his performance as Uncle Remus.[1][7] He was the first African-American male actor to win an Academy Award.[2] Illness and death[edit] Baskett had been in poor health around 1946 during the filming of Song of the South due to diabetes and suffered a heart attack. His health continued to decline, and he was often unable to attend the Amos and Andy show he was in. On July 9, 1948 during the show's summer hiatus,[8] Baskett died of heart failure resulting from the diabetes at age 44 and was survived by his wife, Margaret.[9][10] He is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery
Crown Hill Cemetery
in Indianapolis.[11] Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes

1932 Harlem is Heaven Money Johnson Film debut; credited as Jimmy Baskette

1933 20,000 Cheers for the Chain Gang Vocalist Uncredited

1938 Gone Harlem

Credited as Jimmie Baskette

1938 Policy Man

Credited as Jimmie Baskette

1939 Straight to Heaven First Detective

1940 Comes Midnight

1941 Dumbo Fat Crow Voice, Uncredited

1943 Revenge of the Zombies Lazarus Alternative title: The Corpse Vanished

1944 Heavenly Body, TheThe Heavenly Body Porter Uncredited

1946 Song of the South Uncle Remus Brer Fox
Brer Fox
(voice) (final film role)

See also[edit]

List of African American firsts

References[edit]

^ a b James Baskett – Awards at Internet Movie Database ^ a b Awards, Sidney Poitier – Internet Movie Database. In 1964 Sidney Poitier
Sidney Poitier
became the first black male actor to win a competitive Academy Award, for Best Actor for his performance in Lilies of the Field. ^ As Jim Korkis notes, " Song of the South
Song of the South
came out in 1946 and there was no balance of media images... African American performers often portrayed comic roles where their characters were described as lazy, slow-witted, easily scared or flustered, subservient and worse. That image was what the American public was seeing and accepting as the norm for African Americans." Jim Korkis, "The Sad Song of the South", USA Today (accessed 24 August 2013) ^ In a 15 October 1946 article in the Atlanta
Atlanta
Constitution, columnist Harold Martin noted that to bring Baskett to Atlanta, where he would not have been allowed to participate in any of the festivities, "would cause him many embarrassments, for his feelings are the same as any man's." The modern claim that no Atlanta
Atlanta
hotel would give Baskett accommodation is false: there were several black-owned hotels in Atlanta
Atlanta
at the time, including the Savoy and the McKay. Atlanta's Black-Owned Hotels: A History. ^ Ronald H. Bayor, "Roads to Racial Segregation: Atlanta
Atlanta
in the Twentieth Century", Journal of Urban History, Vol. 15, No. 1, 3–21 (1988). ^ Turner Classic Movies, Song of the South
Song of the South
(1946) (accessed 24 August 2013) ^ Cohen, Karl F. (2004). Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators in America. McFarland. p. 61. ISBN 0-7864-2032-4.  ^ Old-time.com ^ AFI ^ Auchmutey, Jim (2006-11-12). "Finding Uncle Remus". accessatlanta.com. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved 2008-11-17.  (Dead link) ^ Bodenhamer, David J.; Barrows, Robert Graham; Gordon, David (1994). The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Vanderstel, David Gordon. Indiana University Press. p. 485. ISBN 0-253-31222-1. 

External links[edit]

James Baskett
James Baskett
on IMDb Jimmie Baskette at the Internet Broadway Database James Baskett
James Baskett
at Find a Grave

v t e

Academy Honorary Award

1928–1950

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
/ Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
(1928) Walt Disney
Walt Disney
(1932) Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple
(1934) D. W. Griffith
D. W. Griffith
(1935) The March of Time
The March of Time
/ W. Howard Greene and Harold Rosson (1936) Edgar Bergen
Edgar Bergen
/ W. Howard Greene / Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
Film Library / Mack Sennett
Mack Sennett
(1937) J. Arthur Ball / Walt Disney
Walt Disney
/ Deanna Durbin
Deanna Durbin
and Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney
/ Gordon Jennings, Jan Domela, Devereaux Jennings, Irmin Roberts, Art Smith, Farciot Edouart, Loyal Griggs, Loren L. Ryder, Harry D. Mills, Louis Mesenkop, Walter Oberst / Oliver T. Marsh and Allen Davey / Harry Warner
Harry Warner
(1938) Douglas Fairbanks
Douglas Fairbanks
/ Judy Garland
Judy Garland
/ William Cameron Menzies / Motion Picture Relief Fund (Jean Hersholt, Ralph Morgan, Ralph Block, Conrad Nagel)/ Technicolor Company (1939) Bob Hope
Bob Hope
/ Nathan Levinson (1940) Walt Disney, William Garity, John N. A. Hawkins, and the RCA Manufacturing Company / Leopold Stokowski
Leopold Stokowski
and his associates / Rey Scott / British Ministry of Information (1941) Charles Boyer
Charles Boyer
/ Noël Coward
Noël Coward
/ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
(1942) George Pal
George Pal
(1943) Bob Hope
Bob Hope
/ Margaret O'Brien
Margaret O'Brien
(1944) Republic Studio, Daniel J. Bloomberg, and the Republic Studio Sound Department / Walter Wanger
Walter Wanger
/ The House I Live In / Peggy Ann Garner (1945) Harold Russell
Harold Russell
/ Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
/ Ernst Lubitsch
Ernst Lubitsch
/ Claude Jarman Jr. (1946) James Baskett
James Baskett
/ Thomas Armat, William Nicholas Selig, Albert E. Smith, and George Kirke Spoor
George Kirke Spoor
/ Bill and Coo / Shoeshine (1947) Walter Wanger
Walter Wanger
/ Monsieur Vincent
Monsieur Vincent
/ Sid Grauman
Sid Grauman
/ Adolph Zukor
Adolph Zukor
(1948) Jean Hersholt
Jean Hersholt
/ Fred Astaire
Fred Astaire
/ Cecil B. DeMille
Cecil B. DeMille
/ The Bicycle Thief (1949) Louis B. Mayer
Louis B. Mayer
/ George Murphy
George Murphy
/ The Walls of Malapaga (1950)

1951–1975

Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly
/ Rashomon
Rashomon
(1951) Merian C. Cooper
Merian C. Cooper
/ Bob Hope
Bob Hope
/ Harold Lloyd
Harold Lloyd
/ George Mitchell / Joseph M. Schenck / Forbidden Games
Forbidden Games
(1952) 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation / Bell & Howell Company / Joseph Breen / Pete Smith (1953) Bausch & Lomb Optical Company / Danny Kaye
Danny Kaye
/ Kemp Niver / Greta Garbo / Jon Whiteley
Jon Whiteley
/ Vincent Winter / Gate of Hell (1954) Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (1955) Eddie Cantor
Eddie Cantor
(1956) Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
/ Gilbert M. "Broncho Billy" Anderson / Charles Brackett / B. B. Kahane (1957) Maurice Chevalier
Maurice Chevalier
(1958) Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton
/ Lee de Forest
Lee de Forest
(1959) Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper
/ Stan Laurel
Stan Laurel
/ Hayley Mills
Hayley Mills
(1960) William L. Hendricks / Fred L. Metzler / Jerome Robbins
Jerome Robbins
(1961) William J. Tuttle
William J. Tuttle
(1964) Bob Hope
Bob Hope
(1965) Yakima Canutt
Yakima Canutt
/ Y. Frank Freeman
Y. Frank Freeman
(1966) Arthur Freed (1967) John Chambers / Onna White (1968) Cary Grant
Cary Grant
(1969) Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish
/ Orson Welles
Orson Welles
(1970) Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
(1971) Charles S. Boren / Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson
(1972) Henri Langlois
Henri Langlois
/ Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx
(1973) Howard Hawks
Howard Hawks
/ Jean Renoir
Jean Renoir
(1974) Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford
(1975)

1976–2000

Margaret Booth (1977) Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
/ Laurence Olivier
Laurence Olivier
/ King Vidor
King Vidor
/ Museum of Modern Art Department of Film (1978) Hal Elias / Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness
(1979) Henry Fonda
Henry Fonda
(1980) Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck
(1981) Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney
(1982) Hal Roach
Hal Roach
(1983) James Stewart
James Stewart
/ National Endowment for the Arts
National Endowment for the Arts
(1984) Paul Newman
Paul Newman
/ Alex North (1985) Ralph Bellamy
Ralph Bellamy
(1986) Eastman Kodak
Kodak
Company / National Film Board of Canada
National Film Board of Canada
(1988) Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa
(1989) Sophia Loren
Sophia Loren
/ Myrna Loy
Myrna Loy
(1990) Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray
(1991) Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
(1992) Deborah Kerr
Deborah Kerr
(1993) Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni
(1994) Kirk Douglas
Kirk Douglas
/ Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones
(1995) Michael Kidd
Michael Kidd
(1996) Stanley Donen
Stanley Donen
(1997) Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan
(1998) Andrzej Wajda
Andrzej Wajda
(1999) Jack Cardiff
Jack Cardiff
/ Ernest Lehman (2000)

2001–present

Sidney Poitier
Sidney Poitier
/ Robert Redford
Robert Redford
(2001) Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
(2002) Blake Edwards
Blake Edwards
(2003) Sidney Lumet
Sidney Lumet
(2004) Robert Altman
Robert Altman
(2005) Ennio Morricone
Ennio Morricone
(2006) Robert F. Boyle (2007) Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall
/ Roger Corman
Roger Corman
/ Gordon Willis
Gordon Willis
(2009) Kevin Brownlow / Jean-Luc Godard
Jean-Luc Godard
/ Eli Wallach
Eli Wallach
(2010) James Earl Jones
James Earl Jones
/ Dick Smith (2011) D. A. Pennebaker
D. A. Pennebaker
/ Hal Needham
Hal Needham
/ George Stevens Jr.
George Stevens Jr.
(2012) Angela Lansbury
Angela Lansbury
/ Steve Martin
Steve Martin
/ Piero Tosi (2013) Jean-Claude Carrière
Jean-Claude Carrière
/ Hayao Miyazaki
Hayao Miyazaki
/ Maureen O'Hara
Maureen O'Hara
(2014) Spike Lee
Spike Lee
/ Gena Rowlands
Gena Rowlands
(2015) Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan
/ Lynn Stalmaster / Anne V. Coates / Frederick Wiseman (2016) Charles Burnett / Owen Roizman / Donald Sutherland
Donald Sutherland
/ Agnès Varda (2017)

v t e

Amos 'n' Andy

Radio cast

Charles Correll Freeman Gosden James Baskett Elinor Harriot Johnny Lee Madaline Lee Lillian Randolph Ernestine Wade Barbara Jean Wong

Television cast

Tim Moore Nick Stewart Amanda Randolph Lillian Randolph Ernestine Wade Spencer Williams Alvin Childress Ruby Dandridge Dudley Dickerson Roy Glenn Jester Hairston Kim Hamilton Theresa Harris Johnny Lee Jeni Le Gon Sam McDaniel Bill Walker

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 74060462 LCCN: no00004290 ISNI: 0000 0000 3949 8513 GND: 134866673 BNF: cb14153481k (data) MusicBrainz: 500578ec-8104-471a-8ea8-

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