Oscar-nominated actress Juanita Moore, the fifth black performer to receive the coveted nod for her role in the cult classic Imitation of Life (1959), has died. Her grandson, actor Kirk Kelleykahn, said she collapsed and died New Year’s Day at her home in Los Angeles. She was 99, according to Kelleykahn.
In addition to playing Lana Turner’s black friend and a mother raising a daughter passing for white in the the film, the Los Angeles native enjoyed an active career. She got her start in the creative arts as a chorus girl in New York’s Cotton Club, was a thespian (The Amen Corner on Broadway and Raisin in the Sun in London) and a member of the celebrated Cambridge Players with other performers including Esther Rolle and Helen Martin. She also joined the Ebony theater.
Other film and TV credits include “The Singing Nun”, “The Kid,” “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour”, “Adam-12”, “Judging Amy” and “ER” among others.