Willie Best

William "Willie" Best (May 27, 1916 – February 27, 1962), sometimes known as Sleep n' Eat, was an American television and film actor. Best was one of the first well-known African American film actors and comedians, although his work, like that of Stepin Fetchit, is today sometimes reviled because he was often called upon to play stereotypically lazy, illiterate, and/or simple-minded characters in films. Of the 124 films he appeared in, he received screen credit in at least 77 of them, an unusual feat for a bit player. A native of Sunflower, Mississippi, Best had arrived in Hollywood as chauffeur for a vacationing couple, and began his performing career with a traveling show in southern California. He became a regular character actor in Hollywood films after a talent scout discovered him on stage. Best appeared in more than one hundred films of the 1930s and 1940s.


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