AFRICAN-AMERICAN & APACHE ACTRESS CLAUDIA McNEIL DIED
Born on August 13, 1917, in Baltimore, Maryland, Claudia’s father was African-American, her mother was Apache. In her teens, she was adopted by a Jewish couple and became fluent in Yiddish. At age 23, she became a singer, starting in Greenwich Village. McNeil began acting in 1953 as a replacement on Broadway in The Crucible. In 1957, in Simply Heavenly, she won acclaim as “Mami.” Stage credits: A Raisin in the Sun (1961); Tiger Tiger Burning Bright (1962); James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner (1965); Something Different (1967)–her Yiddish was instrumental; Her First Roman (1968)–with Leslie Uggams; Wrong Way Light-Bulb (1969); and Contributions (1970). Movies included: The Last Angry Man (1959); Raisin in the Sun (1961); There Was a Crooked Man (1970), and Black Girl (1972). TV appearances: The DuPont Show of the Month (1957); The Nurses (1962); Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1978); and Roots: The Next Generations (1979). She retired in 1983. Claudia McNeil died on Nov. 25, 1993.
Source: “A True Acting Talent, Claudia McNeil,” African American Registry. Retrieved 8/16/2020, https://web.archive.org/web/20120818071717/http://aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/true-acting-talent-claudia-mcneil Photo: Valente or studio, 1960. Public Domain.