Hilda Simms

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Mini Biography from http://www.IMDB.com

Hilda Simms at the Internet Movie Database
  • Date of Birth - 15 April 1920, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
  • Date of Death - 6 February 1994, Buffalo, New York, USA. (pancreatic cancer)
  • Spouse
Richard Angerolla (20 September 1948 - ?)


Hilda Simms, Actress, Dies at 75; Broadway Star of 'Anna Lucasta'
Published: February 8, 1994 - New York Times

Hilda Simms, an actress best known for her starring role on Broadway in "Anna Lucasta," died on Sunday in Buffalo at the home of her sister Evelyn Sharp. She was 75 and lived in Manhattan.

The cause was cancer of the pancreas, her sister said.

"Anna Lucasta" and Ms. Simms's performance in the title role created a stir when the play, written by Philip Yordan and produced by the American Negro Theater, moved from Harlem to Broadway in 1944. For the first time, American playgoers saw an all-black cast acting in a drama that did not deal with racial issues. Ms. Simms played a middle-class woman who falls into prostitution and tries to fight her way back to respectability. The Road to Broadway

Ms. Simms, whose original surname was Moses, was born in Minneapolis. She was one of nine children and studied teaching at the University of Minnesota until lack of money forced her to leave.

In 1943, Ms. Simms moved to New York. She acted in radio dramas and joined the American Negro Theater, where she was in charge of sound effects, props and publicity.

After appearing as a Southern ingenue in "Three's a Family," she was cast in "Anna Lucasta," a play written for white actors. Although most of the cast members were amateurs, the play received strong reviews and moved to Broadway. In 1947 Ms. Simms went with the play when it moved to London. While in Britain, she married the American actor Richard Angerolla. (Her first marriage, to William Simms in 1941, ended in divorce.)

Under the name Julie Riccardo, she also sang in Paris nightclubs before returning to the United States in 1953 to make the film "The Joe Louis Story." Her other film role was in "The Black Widow" (1954).

She also appeared in "The Cool World" (1960), "Tambourines to Glory" (1963) and a revival of "The Madwoman of Chaillot" (1970) in New York theaters. On television, she was in the series "The Nurses."

As the director of the creative arts program of the New York State division of human rights in the 60's, she focused attention on discrimination and the lack of roles for black actors in film and television. After earning a master's degree in education from City College, she worked for drug treatment programs in New York.

In addition to her sister Evelyn, she is survived by her husband, of Los Angeles; two brothers, Richard Ricco of Minneapolis and Emil Moses Jr. of Tucson, Ariz., and two other sisters, Laura Thompson of New Orleans and Rose Napue of Minneapolis.

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