Up until this past weekend, I had never heard of Amanda Randolph, nor realized her contribution on film as an actress. She came to my attention while watching “No Way Out”, the screen debut of Oscar winner Sidney Poitier.
Amanda made me take notice as this was a film in the 50’s and she had quite a bit of dialogue for a character that was the housekeeper for one the lead white characters. She didn’t sound like any maid I had ever seen in any other movie made during that time. So, as my curiosity got the best of me and was quite surprised by what I discovered.
Amanda Randolph had 46 credits to her name, which for that time as a black actress was a record all within itself. Having made a name on the vaudeville circuit as a singer and musician, she was the first African-American performer to star in a regularly scheduled network television show, appearing in DuMont’s The Laytons (which only stayed on the air for two months in 1948)
She would later form a very special bond with Danny Thomas appearing in his hit show “Make Room For Daddy” (71 episodes), The Danny Thomas Reunion Special and The Danny Thomas Hour.
During the 1948-1949 television season, Randolph starred for about a year in her own daytime musical TV program for DuMont, Amanda, which made her the first African-American woman with her own show on daytime television.
Despite all her film and television work, Randolph found herself slightly short of the requirements for a much-needed Screen Actors Guild pension at the age of 70 and a role was written for her to gain eligibility
Randolph died of a stroke in Duarte, California, on August 24, 1967, aged 70. She is survived by her son Joseph and daughter Evelyn. She was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills beside her sister, Lillian. Which I believe is another 1st for this groundbreaking woman in HERstory.