Delilah Johnson, “Imitation of Life.”
This role was played by Louise Beavers, another fine African-American actress who was almost always forced to play a maid or a house servant. However, in this 1934 movie starring Claudette Colbert, Beavers was allowed to play Delilah as a full-fledged human being with thoughts, feelings and emotions. It shocked many audiences at the time who had never seen a black actor or actress perform in anything but a servile role.
Max Von Mayerling, “Sunset Boulevard.”
This 1950 film is about a silent film actress who tries to make a comeback in more modern films with a script that has been written with her in mind for the key role. The problem is that nobody believes in her, except her butler Max Von Mayerling, played expertly by Erich von Stroheim. In addition to being Norma Desmond’s servant, Mayerling at one time had been her husband. He not only supports her, he protects her in every way he can.