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University of Mississippi Archives and Special Collections
Lobby card for Pinky (1949) an American race drama film starring Jeanne Crain, Ethel Barrymore and Ethel Waters. All three actresses were nominated for the Academy Award, Crain for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Barrymore and Waters for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.The film was adapted from the Cid Ricketts Sumner novel Quality by Philip Dunne and Dudley Nichols and directed by Elia Kazan.
Cabin in the Sky - The other seminal African-American movie musical of 1943 alongside Stormy Weather (both featuring Lena Horne) was this adaptation of a Broadway play. Ethel Waters stars, and her performance of "Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe" in the movie earned the tune an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
Hot Spots for Harlem
The Cotton Club featured all African American singers, dancers, and musicians. Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and their “big bands”, singer Ethel Waters, and dancers, like Clayton "Peg Leg" Bates, and many others were among the legendary stars who performed at the iconic Cotton Club.
In 1921 Ethel Waters was picked up by Black Swan Records, a publisher of what were then known as “race records.” Initially, race records were for black audiences (right?), but it wasn’t long before white people started looking for them, too. Black Swan was a label out of Harlem, and Ethel was one of their first artists. Her first record sold 500,000 copies in six months.
Pinky (1949) Jeanne Crain and Ethel Waters. An American drama film about a pretty, light-skinned, African-American nursing student passing for a Caucasian, adapted from the Cid Ricketts Sumner novel Quality by Philip Dunne and Dudley Nichols and directed by Elia Kazan. Earned Jeanne Crain an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
Pinky is a 1949 American drama film adapted from the Cid Ricketts Sumner novel by Philip Dunne and Dudley Nichols and was directed by Elia Kazan. John Ford was originally hired to direct the film, but was replaced after one week because producer Darryl F. Zanuck was unhappy with the dailies. Lena Horne and Dorothy Dandridge were considered for the lead role, however, Zanuck chose to cast a white actress instead.
Tales of Manhattan Theatrical release poster // Directed by Julien Duvivier Produced by Boris Morros Sam Spiegel Starring Charles Boyer Rita Hayworth Ginger Rogers Henry Fonda Charles Laughton Edward G. Robinson Ethel Waters Paul Robeson W. C. Fields Music by Sol Kaplan Distributed by 20th Century Fox Release date(s) August 5, 1942
Ethel Waters - Am I Blue-1929 Film
Ethel Waters sings Am I Blue from the 1929 motion picture "On With the Show". This was the first sound movie filmed in color-unfortunately, only black and white copies survive. Also co-starring with Waters in this film are Betty Compson, Arthur Lake and Joe E. Brown. In the second half of the clip, Ms.Waters is accompanied by The Four Emperors of Harmony. The song would become her signature.