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Juanita Moore Dies in L.A. Home at 99

The Times reports that Moore danced at the Cotton Club in Culver City when she had returned to L.A. as World War 2 started.

Patch file photo
Patch file photo

By City News Service

Juanita Moore, only the third African American nominated for a supporting-actress Oscar, has died in her Los Angeles home. She was 99.

Her 1960 nomination was for "Imitation of Life" with Lana Turner. Moore portrayed a black maid abandoned by her light-skinned daughter, who renounces her black roots.

The nomination made Moore's name long before Oscar-caliber black actresses were given many challenging roles, and that turned out to be the source of trouble, she told the Los Angeles Times in 2000.

After her nomination, casting directors assumed she'd never play servants again.

"What can you do?" she asked in an an interview with The Times. "They're not going to pay me a lot of money for carrying a tray. That's all we did in movies at the time."

So Moore did not work for a year after the nomination. And she never again appeared in a movie as big as "Imitation of Life" or had a role as big as that of Annie Johnson, according to The Times.

Moore was born in Greenwood, Miss., on Oct. 19, 1914, and grew up in South Los Angeles. After briefly attending Los Angeles City College, she moved to New York and joined the chorus line at Small's Paradise, a nightclub in Harlem, The Times reported.

She also danced at the Cafe Zanzibar and, later, at the London Palladium and the Moulin Rouge in Paris. As World War II started, Moore returned to Los Angeles and danced at the Cotton Club in Culver City.

She died Wednesday after collapsing in her home in Los Angeles, according to The Times.

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