Butterfly McQueen
Autographed Photo as Prissy

Butterfly McQueen in character as "Prissy" Scarlett's maid is shown in this Black and White 8" x 10" signed photo. Signed in felt tip pen on upper left side "Butterfly McQueen." This autographed photo was obtained from a very prominent autograph dealer and comes with COA.

Thelma McQueen was born January 7, 1911 in Tampa, Florida to a mother who was a housekeeper, and a father that was a stevedore. She planned to become a nurse until a high school teacher suggested that she try acting which led her to study with Janet Collins and to dance with the Venezuela Jones Negro Youth Group. Due to her constantly moving hands in her performance of the Butterfly Ballet in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, she acquired the nickname "Butterfly" which later in life, she would legally adopt. She also performed with the dance troupe of Katherine Dunham before making her professional acting debut in George Abbott's Brown Sugar.

Butterfly's film career started in 1939 when she was cast in the role that would forever define her: Prissy the squeaky voiced maid who said " I don't know nuthin about birthin no babies" in Gone With the Wind. The same year, she also played an uncredited small role as a sales assistant in The Women, which was filmed after Gone with the Wind but released before GWTW premiered.

She also played Butterfly, Rochester's niece and Mary Livingstone's maid in the Jack Benny radio program during World War II, appeared in Mildred Pierce in 1945, and Duel in the Sun in 1946. Butterfly was never shy about stating her distain for the ethnic stereotypes she was required to play in movies and by 1947, she had chosen to end her film career. From 1950 until 1952 however, she played Oriole, on the television series "Beulah," which was the first sitcom to star an African American actress - Butterfly's GWTW co-star, Hattie McDaniel. In 1969, she was back on television, appearing on an episode of The Dating Game and in 1979, she won a Daytime Emmy Award for her performance as Aunt Thelma, a fairy godmother in the ABC Afterschool Special episode "The Seven Wishes of Joanna Peabody." She had one more role of substance in the 1986 film The Mosquito Coast.

Away from Hollywood, Butterfly devoted herself to other pursuits including earning a Bachelor's degree in political science from City College of New York in 1975 at age 64. She also devoted her time to anti-poverty work, worked as a waitress and a receptionist. In spite of performing while reading Bible passages as a child, Butterfly chose to be an Athiest. She died on December 22, 1985 at age 84 from burns suffered when a kerosene heater in her home in Agusta, Georgia caught fire. She left her body to science and remembered the Freedom From Religion Foundation in her will.

  • Model: BMQA
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