Juanita Hall

(1901 - 1968)

A photo of Juanita Hall
Juanita Hall
1901 - 1968
Born
November 6, 1901
Death
February 1968
Last Known Residence
New York, New York County, New York 10036
Summary
Juanita Hall was born on November 6, 1901. She died in February 1968 at 66 years of age. We know that Juanita Hall had been residing in New York, New York County, New York 10036.
Updated: February 06, 2019
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Juanita Long Hall, a 20th Century actor and singer, was born in Keyport, New Jersey on Nov. 6, 1901 to an African-American father, Abram Long, and an Irish American mother, Mary Richardson. Raised by maternal grandparents, Long attended New York City, New York’s Juilliard School of Music. While a teenager, she married Clement Hall, who died in 1920s. The couple had no children.

Hall’s early career was in singing and choir directing. From 1935 to 1944 she directed the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Chorus. From 1941 to 1942 she also directed the Westchester (New York) Chorale and Dramatics Association. In the early 1940s she led the Juanita Hall Choir, which performed on radio with Rudy Vallee and Kate Smith and in 1949 the Juanita Hall Choir performed in the film Miracle in Harlem.

In 1935 Hall performed with the Lafayette Players, an African American theatrical troupe. Her first major acting role came in 1943 when she appeared on Broadway in The Pirate. Other Broadway acting opportunities came and she performed in Sing Out, Sweet Land, Saint Louis Woman, Deep Are the Roots, The Secret Room, Street Scene, and The Ponder Heart, all between 1943 and 1956.

Hall's major break came in 1949 when she was cast as "Bloody Mary" in Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein’s South Pacific at New York's Majestic Theatre. In 1950 Hall became the first African American to win a Tony Award when she was named Best Supporting Actress for her role in South Pacific. Hall played "Bloody Mary" for over 1,900 performances of South Pacific before beginning a brief a career as a nightclub singer performing mostly in Greenwich Village venues. In the early 1950s Hall starred in the radio soap opera The Story of Ruby Valentine.

In 1954 Hall was cast as a West Indian brothel keeper in Harold Arlen’s House of Flowers with Pearl Bailey and Diahann Carroll. In 1958 she played a Chinese-American marriage broker in Rogers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song. She reprised that role in the 1961 film version of the play. In 1958 Richard Rogers requested Hall to again play Bloody Mary in the film version of South Pacific which was shot on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. Hall’s television appearances in the 1950s and early 1960s included The Ed Sullivan Show, The Coca-Cola Hour, The Perry Como Show.

Affected by diabetes with failing eyesight and health, Hall performed in A Woman and the Blues, featuring her nightclub and Broadway acts in 1966. Her condition led the Actors Fund of America to stage a benefit performance on her behalf in 1967. A year later, on February 28, 1968 Juanita Hall died in Bay Shore, Long Island.

Sources:
Henry Louis Gates and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Harlem Renaissance Lives from the African American National Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009); Elsa Barkley Brown, Darlene Clark Hine, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn (Eds.), Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1994).
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Juanita Hall
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New York, New York County, New York 10036
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Amanda S. Stevenson
11.7k+ favorites
I met her when she was doing "FLOWER DRUM SONG" on Broadway. She was so nice and cheerful and warm. I loved her in SOUTH PACIFIC. She was bi-racial and usually played Asians.
Jun 03, 2018 · Reply

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JUANITA HALL

“Come away, come away,” Bloody Mary sings in one of the most mysterious, exotic, and seductive songs in musical theater – “Bali Ha’i,” from South Pacific. And the part of Bloody Mary will forever be linked with Juanita Hall, who created the role on stage in 1949.
Born in 1901 in Keyport, New Jersey, Hall went to a local public school and sang in a church choir. She later studied at The Juilliard School, and in the 1930s was assistant director for the Hall Johnson Choir as well as a soloist with the choir. Johnson was the musical director of Marc Connelly’s The Green Pastures, and it was as a soloist and chorister in that work that Juanita Hall made her first appearance on Broadway.
She returned to the Great White Way in a 1934 revival of the drama Stevedore and the following year had a part in the comedy Sailor, Beware! For George Abbott’s play Sweet River (1936) – a dramatic adaptation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Hall arranged and directed the choral music.
In 1942 she had a small role in S. N. Behrman’s play The Pirate, which starred the renowned Broadway duo Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. A 1943 salute to American folk and popular music, Sing Out, Sweet Land, also featured Hall. She was in Robert Turney’s thriller The Secret Room (1945) and the comedy Mr. Peebles and Mr. Hooker (1946) by Edward E. Paramore Jr., as well as in the Arlen and Mercer musical St. Louis Woman (1946).
But it was in the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific that Hall found the role that she would be most widely associated with, Bloody Mary. The show won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as Tony Awards® in numerous categories, including those for Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Libretto. The leads, Ezio Pinza and Mary Martin, both won Tonys® – as did Hall, for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
After her stint in South Pacific, Hall portrayed the proprietor of a Caribbean brothel in House of Flowers (1954) – by the unusual team of Truman Capote and Harold Arlen – which featured Diahann Carroll’s Broadway debut and starred Pearl Bailey.
In 1956 Hall played Narciss in The Ponder Heart, a play based on Eudora Welty’s story of the same name, and in 1958 she returned to Rodgers and Hammerstein as a member of the original cast of Flower Drum Song, playing the sly Madam Liang. The musical, focusing on the plight of Asian Americans, was the first on Broadway to feature a predominantly Asian cast, though Hall was an exception.
Original cast recordings of South Pacific, House of Flowers, and Flower Drum Song – all featuring Hall – are available through Sony.
In addition to her work on the stage, Hall played her famous Rodgers and Hammerstein roles in the movie adaptations of South Pacific (1959) and Flower Drum Song (1961), though her singing in South Pacific was dubbed by Muriel Smith.
Hall died in Bay Shore, New York, in 1968.

Refresh this page to see various historical events that occurred during Juanita's lifetime.

In 1901, in the year that Juanita Hall was born, Edward VII succeeded Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria of England had become Queen in 1837 and reigned until her death in 1901. Her 63 year reign was the longest in history prior to Elizabeth II who recently broke her record. The time during which she led the country was known as the Victorian era and she presided over great changes in the United Kingdom, including the expansion of the British Empire and the Industrial Revolution.

In 1914, at the age of merely 13 years old, Juanita was alive when in only his second big-screen appearance, Charlie Chaplin played the Little Tramp, his most famous character. The silent film was made in January and released the following year. Of the character, Chaplin said: "On the way to the wardrobe I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane and a derby hat. I wanted everything a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large." The moustache was added to age his 24-year-old face without masking his expressions.

In 1939, when she was 38 years old, on the 1st of September, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. On September 17th, the Soviet Union invaded Poland as well. Poland expected help from France and the United Kingdom, since they had a pact with both. But no help came. By October 6th, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany held full control of the previously Polish lands. Eventually, the invasion of Poland lead to World War II.

In 1957, by the time she was 56 years old, on September 24th, the "Little Rock Nine" (nine African-American students) entered Little Rock High School. Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus had previously prevented the students from entering the school at the beginning of the term with the Arkansas National Guard - they blocked the door. President Eisenhower ordered federal troops - the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army - to guard the students and allow them entry.

In 1968, in the year of Juanita Hall's passing, on April 4th, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the civil rights leader, was shot and killed by an assassin in Memphis. James Earl Ray was apprehended and plead guilty to shooting Dr. King. Ray died in jail in 1998.

Other Juanita Halls

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Unknown - January 2013
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1927 - Apr 8, 2016
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c. 1924 - Unknown
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Dec 22, 1928 - Mar 22, 2013
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c. 1944 - Unknown
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c. 1969 - Unknown
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c. 1975 - Unknown
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c. 1963 - Unknown
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c. 1940 - Unknown
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c. 1960 - Unknown
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c. 1921 - Unknown
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c. 1923 - Unknown
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c. 1935 - Unknown
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c. 1923 - Unknown
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c. 1959 - Unknown
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c. 1920 - Unknown
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c. 1956 - Unknown
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c. 1955 - Unknown
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c. 1948 - Unknown
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c. 1920 - Unknown

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May 25, 1901 - January 1973
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Mar 27, 1918 - May 1970
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Dec 31, 1900 - July 1987
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Apr 29, 1916 - Jun 24, 2002
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Dec 30, 1914 - August 1977
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Mar 24, 1889 - June 1975
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Jan 11, 1911 - Aug 26, 1998
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Jan 16, 1917 - Dec 28, 1998
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Mar 12, 1908 - July 1964
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Apr 2, 1902 - February 1986
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Mar 30, 1895 - March 1971
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Oct 29, 1908 - October 1976
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Nov 7, 1913 - Nov 14, 2003
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Oct 8, 1876 - January 1964
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Nov 24, 1880 - November 1980
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Mar 5, 1914 - April 1980

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Sep 20, 1912 - Aug 7, 1993
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May 28, 1887 - January 1964
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May 25, 1908 - January 1984
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