Jack Benny and Rochester (Eddie Anderson)
.....Benny was always very sensitive to audiences' responses to Rochester onstage and off. During a USO tour during the Second World War, he bawled out a GI for making racist remarks about Rochester and humiliated many a hotel clerk into letting Anderson stay at the same hotel with the rest of the company. Historian Gerald Nachman remarked that after World War II, "Benny decided that he would take away all the stereotypical parts of the Rochester character and concentrate on the one brilliant stroke—which is that Benny was really a servant to Rochester."
..........— Michael Kantor and Laurence Maslon on Jack Benny and Edmund "Eddie" Lincoln Anderson. Make 'Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America (2008), based on the PBS series of the same name. The roles of black actors of that era were largely confined to subservient types. Anderson's "Rochester van Jones" character frequently turned that stereotype on its head with his keen wit, sharp retorts, and impeccable comedic timing.
Last edited by WT Sharpe; 06-20-2010 at 08:24 AM.