A lifelong atheist, she was honored with a "Freethought Heroine" award from the Freedom From Religion Foundation in 1989. She was a life member of the organization, and left the contents of her personal bank account to the group when she died.
Father was a stevedore and mother was a maid.
Frustrated with racial type-casting, she quit acting in films in 1947, but appeared in the TV series "Beulah" (1950), where she played a maid. When not appearing on Broadway, she worked as a taxi dispatcher, a real-life maid, a companion to an elderly white woman, a seamstress, and a department store salesperson.
Hated her real name of "Thelma" and actually had her name legalized to "Butterfly McQueen."
Her body was donated to medical science.
In 1980, she sued Greyhound Bus Lines when she was assaulted in a bus station by a guard who thought she was a pickpocket. Thrown roughly onto a bench, the 69 year-old actress had several of her ribs damaged. After several years of litigation, she was awarded $60,000.
In the 1975 stage musical "The Wiz," Butterfly was initially cast to play the Queen of the Field Mice until her scene was cut. She ended up understudying the role of Addapearle, the Good Witch of the North.
Received a bachelor's degree in political science from New York City College in 1975 (she was 64).
She died when her clothes caught fire while she was lighting a kerosene heater.
The pressbook for the late 1960s release of Gone with the Wind (1939) listed her name as "Butterfield McQueen."