Born November 6, 1901, in Keyport, New Jersey, Juanita Hall is best known for her 1950 Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress. As a result, she holds the distinction of becoming the first Black actress to do so. In addition to acting, she was also an extremely skilled musician graduating from the Julliard School.
Following her classical training, she spent much of the 1930s and 1940s as assistant director of the Hall Johnson Choir. At the time she was one of the prominent Broadway actresses. This led to her getting regular supporting work with some of the most well-known producers of the period. One of the roles she performed was as Bloody Mary in South Pacific. This role would become very important to her in the following decade.
Her body of work and her performance as Bloody Mary would win her the Tony for Best Supporting Actress. This resulted in even greater momentum for her Broadway career into the mid-1950s. She would get radio work on the National Negro Network and also regularly performed her group, The Juanita Hall Choir alongside her acting pursuits.
Towards the end of her career, Hall would play Bloody Mary in the film South Pacific, although her singing was dubbed in favor for Muriel Smith. She continued performing into the 1960s before retiring to the Percy Williams Actors home. There she eventually succumbed to diabetes at the age of 66.