Posts tagged "Theresa Harris"
Theresa Harris with Barbara Stanwyck in the 1933 pre-code film, “Baby Face.” Ms. Harris (1909-1985) played a series of maids to nearly every major Hollywood star of the time from Bette Davis and Jean Harlow to Ginger Rogers and Esther Williams. In “Baby Face,” Ms. Stanwyck (1907-1990) played Lily Powers, an ambitious golddigger who later questions her ways (A little bit… Hollywood censors did some tweaking…). Ms. Harris played her best friend and “maid” Chico, who is with her every step of the way as she climbs the ladder of success, one man (or two) at a time. Ms. Harris also was the inspiration behind Lynn Nottage's play, “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark.” I never post about Theresa Harris without including the haunting quote from her I found in Donald Bogle’s book, “Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood. Bogle described her as “both outspoken and highly intelligent” and noted that she “didn’t mince words about the plight of colored actresses. She told Fay M. Jackson, of the California Eagle in August 1937: “I never felt the chance to rise above the role of maid in Hollywood movies. My color was against me. The fact that I was not ‘hot’ stamped me as either an uppity ‘Negress’ or relegated me to the eternal role of stooge or servant. I can sing but so can hundreds of other girls. My ambitions are to be an actress. Hollywood had no parts for me.” Ms. Harris would later tell the same reporter that she enjoyed working in race movies “because In the picture I have the chance of wearing clothes.” “Clothes” as a gorgeous wardrobe that Black women usually never had a chance to wear in white movies. Photo: Warner Brothers/Photofest.

Theresa Harris with Barbara Stanwyck in the 1933 pre-code film, “Baby Face.” Ms. Harris (1909-1985) played a series of maids to nearly every major Hollywood star of the time from Bette Davis and Jean Harlow to Ginger Rogers and Esther Williams. In “Baby Face,” Ms. Stanwyck (1907-1990) played Lily Powers, an ambitious golddigger who later questions her ways (A little bit… Hollywood censors did some tweaking…). Ms. Harris played her best friend and “maid” Chico, who is with her every step of the way as she climbs the ladder of success, one man (or two) at a time. Ms. Harris also was the inspiration behind Lynn Nottage's play, “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark.” I never post about Theresa Harris without including the haunting quote from her I found in Donald Bogle’s book, “Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood. Bogle described her as “both outspoken and highly intelligent” and noted that she “didn’t mince words about the plight of colored actresses. She told Fay M. Jackson, of the California Eagle in August 1937: “I never felt the chance to rise above the role of maid in Hollywood movies. My color was against me. The fact that I was not ‘hot’ stamped me as either an uppity ‘Negress’ or relegated me to the eternal role of stooge or servant. I can sing but so can hundreds of other girls. My ambitions are to be an actress. Hollywood had no parts for me.” Ms. Harris would later tell the same reporter that she enjoyed working in race movies “because In the picture I have the chance of wearing clothes.” “Clothes” as a gorgeous wardrobe that Black women usually never had a chance to wear in white movies. Photo: Warner Brothers/Photofest.

Actress Theresa Harris as she appeared in the 1948 film, “The Velvet Touch,” which starred Rosalind Russell. Ms. Harris was the inspiration behind Lynn Nottage’s play, “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” which starred Sanaa Lathan. From Donald Bogle’s Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood: “Harris - who was both outspoken and highly intelligent - didn’t mince words about the plight of colored actresses. She told Fay M. Jackson, of the California Eagle in August 1937: “I never felt the chance to rise above the role of maid in Hollywood movies. My color was against me. The fact that I was not ‘hot’ stamped me as either an uppity ‘Negress’ or relegated me to the eternal role of stooge or servant. I can sing but so can hundreds of other girls. My ambitions are to be an actress. Hollywood had no parts for me.” Photo via A Certain Cinema.

Actress Theresa Harris as she appeared in the 1948 film, “The Velvet Touch,” which starred Rosalind Russell. Ms. Harris was the inspiration behind Lynn Nottage’s play, “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” which starred Sanaa Lathan. 

From Donald Bogle’s Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood: “Harris - who was both outspoken and highly intelligent - didn’t mince words about the plight of colored actresses. She told Fay M. Jackson, of the California Eagle in August 1937: “I never felt the chance to rise above the role of maid in Hollywood movies. My color was against me. The fact that I was not ‘hot’ stamped me as either an uppity ‘Negress’ or relegated me to the eternal role of stooge or servant. I can sing but so can hundreds of other girls. My ambitions are to be an actress. Hollywood had no parts for me.” Photo via A Certain Cinema.

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Theresa Harris 

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vintageblackglamour:

Actress Theresa Harris with Marlene Dietrich in the 1941 film, The Flame of New Orleans. From Donald Bogle’s Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams: The Story of Black Hollywood:

Harris - who was both outspoken and highly intelligent - didn’t mince words about the plight of colored actresses. She told Fay M. Jackson, of the California Eagle in August 1937: “I never felt the chance to rise above the role of maid in Hollywood movies. My color was against me. The fact that I was not ‘hot’ stamped me as either an uppity ‘Negress’ or relegated me to the eternal role of stooge or servant. I can sing but so can hundreds of other girls. My ambitions are to be an actress. Hollywood had no parts for me.

I’m going to take a wild guess on how Theresa Harris would have felt about “The Help.” 

Theresa Harris day continues on Vintage Black Glamour with Ms. Harris singing “Daddy Won’t You Please Come Home,” in the 1929 film, “Thunderbolt.Ms. Harris was the inspiration behind Lynn Nottage’s new play, “By The Way, Meet Vera Stark.

Theresa Harris on the September 11, 1952 cover of Jet. The article talks about how she had been typecast as a maid in her 20-year-movie career. Ms. Harris was hopeful about being tested with Billy Eckstine for the film Skirts Ahoy and was quoted as saying, “All I can do is keep on plugging and hoping.”

Theresa Harris on the September 11, 1952 cover of Jet. The article talks about how she had been typecast as a maid in her 20-year-movie career. Ms. Harris was hopeful about being tested with Billy Eckstine for the film Skirts Ahoy and was quoted as saying, “All I can do is keep on plugging and hoping.”

Theresa Harris (featured here on Vintage Black Glamour) with Barbara Stanwyck in the 1933 film “Baby Face.” Ms. Harris was the inspiration behind Lynn Nottage’s new play, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark starring Sanaa Lathan.