|Born||Samuel Rufus McDaniel
January 28, 1886
Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
|Died||September 24, 1962
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
|Other names||Sam Deacon McDaniel
Sam McDaniel (January 28, 1886 – September 24, 1962) was an African American actor who appeared in over 210 television shows and films between 1929 and 1950. He was the older brother of actresses Hattie McDaniel and Etta McDaniel. Born in Wichita, Kansas, to former slaves, he was one of 13 children. His father Henry McDaniel fought in the Civil War with the 122nd USCT and his mother, Susan Holbert, was a singer of religious music. In 1900, the family moved to Colorado, living first in Fort Collins and then in Denver where he grew up and graduated from Denver East High School. The children of the McDaniel Family had a traveling minstrel show. After the death of brother Otis in 1916, the troupe began to lose money. In 1931, McDaniel found work in Los Angeles with sisters Hattie, Etta and Orlena. Sam was working on KNX radio program called The Optimistic Doughnut Hour, and he was able to get his sister a spot.
Sam McDaniel is known almost exclusively for playing butler, doormen, valet, porter and servant roles in films. McDaniel is familiar to modern viewers for his role as Spiffingham the Butler in the Three Stooges film Heavenly Daze. Having been the only African-American to ever appear in the I Love Lucy series, he was "Sam the Porter" in a 1955 episode of I Love Lucy called "The Great Train Robbery". He played Doc in the 1937 film Captains Courageous. He appeared uncredited as a waiter on a train in both the 1947 film The Egg and I (with Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert) and its first followup Ma and Pa Kettle (1949).
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