Butterfly McQueen

January 7, 1911 — December 22, 1995

Film and television actress best known for her role in Gone With the Wind

Butterfly McQueen

Butterfly McQueen brought unforgettable spirit and comic relief to her signature role as Prissy in the 1939 classic film Gone With the Wind. She went on to play several minor roles in film and television throughout the next twenty years; when her acting career dwindled she devoted her life to community service and obtained a degree in political science at the age of sixty-four.1

McQueen was a proud atheist throughout her life. She famously declared, “As my ancestors are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion.”2 Her commitment to humanist values fueled her sense of compassion; she spent many her later years working with children and donated her body to medical science. 

  1. Lizette Alvare, “Butterfly McQueen dies at 84; played Scarlett O’Hara’s maid,” the New York Times (Published December 1995), available online at http://www.nytimes.com/1995/12/23/nyregion/butterfly-mcqueen-dies-at-84-played-scarlett-o-hara-s-maid.html?src=pm.

  2. Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 8 October 1989