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Norman, Maidie (1912–1998)

theater school black history

NORMAN, MAIDIE (1912–1998). Actress. She was born in Lima , Ohio . At the urging of one of her teachers, her father enrolled her in drama school and by the time she was 10, Norman was acting in Shakespearean plays. By the age of 12, she had committed her life to the stage. After receiving four scholarship offers in her senior year in high school, she decided to attend Bennett College , where she started an in-depth study of black theater history. After earning her B.A. degree from Bennett, she received her M.A. in theater at Columbia University . Norman moved to Hollywood in 1943, but her first major role was in The Burning Cross , 1948, and she followed with roles in The Well , 1951, and Bright Road , 1953. Determined to bring dignity to her characters, she often clashed with directors over role interpretations and managed to portray a strong and dignified maid in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane , 1962. On stage, she has played Odessa in The Amen Corner and Mama in A Raisin in the Sun . She was appointed as artist in residence at Stanford University in the 1968–1969 school year, when she taught acting classes and performed with the Stanford Repertory Company, and later taught black theater history at UCLA. Her television guest appearances include roles in The Jeffersons, Goodtimes , and Cannon . She was a member of the Actor’s Lab, the Negro Arts Theater, and a 1977 inductee into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.

Filmography: The Burning Cross , 1948; The Well , 1951; Bright Road , 1953; Torch Song , 1953; About Mrs. Leslie , 1954; Susan Slept Here , 1954; Tarzan’s Hidden Jungle , 1955; The Opposite Sex , 1956; Written on the Wind , 1957; Whatever Happened to Baby Jane , 1962; The Final Come Down , 1972; Maurie , 1973; A Star Is Born , 1976; Airport ’77 , 1977; Movie Movie , 1979.

Norrish, Ronald G W [next] [back] Norman Film Manufacturing Company

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