Sam McDaniel

Samuel Rufus McDaniel (January 28, 1886  September 24, 1962) was an 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.

Sam McDaniel
McDaniel in Broadway Limited (1941)
Samuel Rufus McDaniel

(1886-01-28)January 28, 1886
DiedSeptember 24, 1962(1962-09-24) (aged 76)
Other namesSam Deacon McDaniel
Deacon McDaniels
Sam McDaniels
Years active1929–1960

Early life

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 gospel 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.[1]


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 (1948).[2] He is the only African-American to ever appear on I Love Lucy, playing "Sam the Porter" in the 1955 episode "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). He also played various supporting roles on TV's The Amos 'n' Andy Show (1951–53).[3][4]


McDaniel died of throat cancer on September 24, 1962 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California.[2]



  1. Fritz, Jose. "The Optimistic Doughnut Hour." Arcane Radio Trivia, October 9, 2008. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
  2. "Cast Member: Sam McDaniel." The Three Stooges Online Filmography. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  3. The Amos 'n' Andy Show, episode "Getting Mama Married" at IMDb
  4. The Amos 'n' Andy Show Full Cast at IMDb
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