Stephen Bourne

stephen bourne

Butterfly McQueen Remembered

Scarecrow Press (2008)

In Butterfly McQueen Remembered Stephen Bourne draws upon two decades of research to document the life and career of Butterfly McQueen who will always be remembered for her first screen role as Scarlett O’Hara’s hysterical servant girl Prissy in Gone With the Wind (1939). Bourne, who corresponded with McQueen for many years, chronicles the ups and downs of this talented and generous woman’s life, both in front of the camera and far from its glaring spotlight.

"Stephen Bourne’s memoir of this great performer is well researched and beautifully written – as one would expect from this biographer. It’s also a chilling tale of how Hollywood destroys its own and one that deserves to be read by actors and fans of McQueen alike." (Patrick Newley, The Stage)

"She lived life as far as she could on her own terms and according to her own values. This is therefore as much a story of human courage and dignity as it is of film scholarship. Stephen Bourne tells it with great energy and affection. His absorbing book is a valuable introduction to a complex, and shameful period, in Hollywood history." (David Lancaster, Film and History)

"Butterfly McQueen’s biographer may not know nuthin’ ‘bout birthin’ babies but delivers a damned good biography on the neglected African American actor who is finally receiving critical attention for her unique contribution to American cinema. Solidly written with meticulously researched information, rare stills and personal correspondence…Bourne pulls all into perspective and reveals a talented but unfulfilled actor who was frustrated and denied by larger systems and institutions, an altruistic survivor who later became anti-poverty activist…All Black actors working in Hollywood should read Bourne’s biographies on McQueen and Ethel Waters. Film historians and anti-racist educators should place these works as staples on Black History booklists. It is a solidly crafted work on an enigmatic Black woman." (Joseph Worrell, Toronto , Canada , see

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