This Day in Pop Culture for February 29

1940: First African American to Win an Oscar

Born the youngest of 13 children of former slaves in Wichita, Kansas, Hattie McDaniel began her career as a songwriter and performer with her brother’s minstrel show. From 1920-1925, McDaniel toured with the black ensemble, Professor George Morrison’s Melody Hounds before trying out a radio career which ended in 1929 when the stock market crashed. She found work as a washroom attendant and waitress at a club in Milwaukee. She later became a musical performer there. Later, she returned to radio performing in the KNX show, The Optimistic Do-Nut Hour. She made her first film appearance in 1929 movie, The Golden West, but her biggest role came in 1939 when she joined the cast of Gone with the Wind for MGM. It was on this day in 1940 during the 12th Academy Awards that she became the first African American to win an Oscar for her role as Mammy. McDaniel appeared in over 300 films, received two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Colorado’s Women’s Hall of Fame in 2010.


1967: Superman’s Birthday but Not Clark Kent’s

Though the superhero Superman has been around since 1938, he keeps in remarkable shape due to the fact that he was born on a Leap Day according to DC Comics. This was first “confirmed” when editor Julius Schwartz answered a reader’s question regarding how Superman ages slower than the rest of us – aging only one year for every four that we age. Clark Kent’s birthday is usually stated as the day he crash-landed on the earth on April 18.

Movies Released

  • An Extremely Goofy Movie (2000)
  • Penelope (2008)
  • Semi-Pro (2008)

TV Series Debuts

  • Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan (2020)

Famous Birthdays

  • 1916: Dinah Shore (actress)
  • 1944: Dennis Farina (actor)
  • 1960: Tony Robbins (motivational speaker)
  • 1976: Ja Rule (rapper)
  • 1980: Peter Scanavino (actor)
  • 1984: Mark Foster (singer)
  • 1992: Jessie Usher (actor)

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