James Baskett was an African-American actor who was cast as Uncle Remus in Disney’s 1946 feature Song of the South and introduced us to that famous song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”. Mr. Baskett originally auditioned for a small role voicing one of the animals. Walt Disney was impressed by his audition and cast him in the lead role of Uncle Remus. Mr. Baskett was also the voice of Brer Fox and even filled in as the voice of Brer Rabbit in one sequence. Due to Atlanta being racially segregated by law at the time, Mr. Baskett was unable to attend the film’s premiere. On March 20, 1948, Mr. Baskett received an Honorary Academy Award for his performance. Mr. Baskett died as a result of heart disease on July 9, 1948. Song of the South has been unavailable for several years because of the portrayals by African-Americans.
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