A pioneer in Hollywood has passed away. Juanita Moore, who is best known for her iconic role as Annie Johnson in the 1959 film Imitation of Life, died at 99. Her grandson Kirk Kahntells Variety.com she passed away Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles.
Like many actresses of her time, Moore was forced to play maids in racially-charged Hollywood. But her Oscar-nominated role in the 1959 remake of Imitation of Life made her a star. Moore played Annie Johnson, a maid with a black child who passed from white and eventually rejected her mother. The film's handling of racial idenitity was controversial for the time and there have been talks of a remake for decades. The movie also starred Lana Turner and Mahalia Jackson, who famously sang "Troubles of the World." Moore's performance also earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
The actress remained active until her last day, her grandson says. Moore was scheduled to perform a stage reading at L.A.'s Saban Center in a few weeks and ran lines just days before her passing.
“She gave back to the community in so many ways,” says Kahn. “Wherever we went she stopped and told Black boys and girls they could do anything with their lives.”
Our condolences go out to Moore's family and friends.
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