African-American Firsts: Film & TV
From stereotypical roles as maids and cooks to Academy Award-winning performances in blockbuster movies, African Americans have come a long way in the world of film and television. Early stars like Sidney Poitier and Hattie McDaniel may have been the first actors to win awards for their stellar performances, but modern-day actors such as Denzel Washington and Halle Berry are still breaking new ground as the first African Americans to win Oscars, Emmy Awards and Golden Globe Awards in certain categories. Learn more about the African-American actors who became the first to change the fabric of film and TV with their dramatic performances.
Featured African-American Firsts: Film & TV
Learn more about some of the most famous African-American actors to change the fabric of film and television, including Sidney Poitier, Quvenzhané Wallis, Ethel Waters, Gordon Parks, Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.
Film Actress, Entrepreneur, Producer, Philanthropist, Talk Show Host, Television Producer / 1954 -
In 1986, Oprah Winfrey became the first black female host of a nationally syndicated daily talk show with the premiere of The Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2002, Winfrey was named the first recipient of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Bob Hope Humanitarian Award. The following year, she became the first black female billionaire in the United States.
Photographer, Director, Songwriter, Pianist, Writer / 1912 - 2006
Gordon Parks became the first African American to direct, write, score and co-produce a major Hollywood film with 1969's The Learning Tree—the plot of which was based on Parks's semi-autobiographical book of the same name.
Film Actress, Television Actress, Comedian, Talk Show Host / 1955 -
In 1991, Whoopi Goldberg became the first African-American woman to win the Academy Award for best supporting actress in nearly 50 years (following Hattie McDaniel, who won the award in 1939), as well as only the second African-American actress to win an Oscar for acting. Goldberg later became the first woman to host the Academy Awards. Additionally, she is one of only 11 entertainers to have won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards.
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profile name: Oprah Winfrey profile occupation: Film Actress, Entrepreneur, Producer, Philanthropist, Talk Show Host, Television Producer
profile id: 21095485
profile name: Quvenzhané Wallis profile occupation: Film Actress
profile id: 37379
profile name: Gordon Parks profile occupation: Photographer, Director, Songwriter, Pianist, Writer
profile id: 9443345
profile name: Sidney Poitier profile occupation: Film Actor, Filmmaker
profile id: 9524982
profile name: Ethel Waters profile occupation: Film Actress, Theater Actress, Television Actress, Singer
profile id: 9314384
profile name: Whoopi Goldberg profile occupation: Film Actress, Television Actress, Comedian, Talk Show Host
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