Hilda Simms

Hilda Simms

HILDA SIMMS d1994. African American stage actress best known for her starring role in Anna Lucasta. Philip Yordan had originally written the play for an all-white cast, but the show made a huge splash when the American Negro Theater produced it. The production moved to Broadway in 1944 where it became an early drama featuring African American actors in work that explored themes un-related to race. During the British tour of the play in 1947, she met and married veteran American actor Richard Angarola. The couple returned to the States in the 1950s and Simms embarked on a brief film career. Her first role was as co-star to heavy-weight boxing champion Joe Louis. She played the boxer's wife in The Joe Louis Story (1953). In 1954, she appeared as Anne in Black Widow. In the 1950s, she was a victim of the Hollywood blacklist. The US Department of Justice denied her passport in 1955 and cancelled her scheduled 14-week USO tour of the Armed Forces in Europe, even though she had entertained troops and made War Bond tours during WW2. The Defense Department decision was based on speculation about her affiliation with the Communist Party in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The decision caused her dozens of lost opportunities and any chance of a film career evaporated. She died of cancer aged 75 in 1994.

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Hilda Simms

Reference Number. 8956


An original typed note (dated 1st October 1948) on her own headed paper, clearly signed in ink at the conclusion by Hilda Simms.

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