Groundbreaking African American Actress Juanita Moore Dies At 99

Photo courtesy of Variety

Photo courtesy of Variety

Caitlin Swift
Staff Writer

Oscar nominated actress Juanita Moore passed away on Wednesday. According to her grandson, actor Kirk Kelleykahn, Moore collapsed and passed away at her home in Los Angeles. She was 99 years old, however there have been rumors of discrepancies regarding her age.

Juanita Moore is best known for her role in Imitation of Life, which earned her an Oscar nod and helped pave the way for African American actors. It also made her the fifth African American to be award with an Oscar nomination. The film was a hit and later became a cult classic.

Moore was unphased by her nomination telling The Los Angeles Times in 1967 “The Oscar prestige was fine, but I worked more before I was nominated. Casting directors think an Oscar nominee is suddenly in another category. They couldn’t possibly ask you to do one or two days’ work. You wouldn’t accept it. And I’m sure I would.”

Appearing on Broadway in 1965’s The Amen Corner and then in a production of Raisin in the Sun in London was a continuation of Moore’s love of the stage. She began in the early 1950’s in Ebony Showcase Theatre in Los Angeles and was a member of the Cambridge Players. An amazing resume that all started with a gig as a chorus girl at New York’s Cotton Club.

Later in life Moore made appearances on such shows as The Alfred Hitchcock HourAdam-12,Judging Amy, and ER. Moore is survived by her grandson and two nephews and was the widow of the late Charles Burris.

Our thoughts are with her family at this sad time.

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