Happy Birthday, Butterfly McQueen

Butterfly McQueen, January 7, 1911 - December 22, 1995

Thelma Butterly McQueen.
Born on this Day in 1911

Forever known as the young slave girl who “don’t know nuthin’ ’bout birthin’ babies!” in the epic Gone with the Wind
, Butterfly McQueen began her career in show business as a dancer. In New York, she studied dance with Katherine Dunham, Geoffrey Holder, and Janet Collins. Her stage name of “Butterfly” comes from dancing the “Butterfly Ballet” in a 1935 production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Tired of playing maids, she left Hollywood in the mid 1940s appearing only in a few more films and the occasional television production.

She spent most of her later years living quietly and frugally in Augusta, Georgia. On December 22, 1995 her home caught fire while she was lighting a kerosene heater. She suffered burns over most of her body. She died in the hospital at the age of 84.

Stephen Bourne documents her life in Butterfly McQueen Remembered.

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