Juanita Moore, an Oscar-nominated actress for her role as Annie Johnson in the 1959 drama “Imitation of Life,” has died at the age of 99.
According to her grandson Kirk Kelleykahn, she collapsed at her home on Wednesday and passed away shortly after.
Moore was only the fifth African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award and the role went on to became her most famous.
“Imitation of Life” tells the story of a white actress’ rise to fame and her friendship with a black woman (Moore) who, like her, is a single mother.
Though Moore appreciated the Oscar recognition, it didn’t have a completely positive effect on her career.
“The Oscar prestige was fine, but I worked more before I was nominated,” Moore told the Los Angeles Times in 1967.
“Casting directors think an Oscar nominee is suddenly in another category. They couldn’t possibly ask you to do one or two days’ work. You wouldn’t accept it. And I’m sure I would.”
The actress also revealed that shooting her nominated turn as Annie proved an emotional experience for her.
“I cried a lot in the making of this movie because it was real easy for me to cry. I had a lot to cry about,” shared Moore.
“Conditions for black actors were unbelievable back then. Very few actors got the opportunity to hone their craft in the same way white actors did.”
Moore’s other film credits include “The Girl Can’t Help It,” “The Singing Nun,” “Paternity” and “The Kid.”
The 99-year-old also had a number of impressive stage credits, beginning her career at the leading Ebony Showcase Theatre in Los Angeles and becoming a member of the acclaimed Cambridge Players.
As her career unfolded, Moore told the Times that “real parts, not just in-and-out jobs,” were finally beginning to open up for black actors.
Juanita Moore in “Imitation of Life”