Written by | Cyrena Rose

Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served under eight U.S. presidents., died at age 90 of renal failure on March 31, 2010.  However, his life’s work is the inspiration behind an upcoming film entitled Lee Daniels’ The Butler.

Ironically, the film was inspired by a Washington Post article by Wil Haygood; Director Lee Daniels got the idea for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” from Haygood’s 2008 article entitled “A Butler Well Served By This Election.”

Inspiration begets inspiration…

Mr. Allen was born July 14, 1919, in Scottsville, Va.  He worked as a waiter at the Homestead resort in Hot Springs, Va., and later at a country club in Washington.  In 1952, he heard of a job opening at the White House and was hired as a “pantry man,” washing dishes, stocking cabinets and shining silverware for $2,400 a year.

He became maitre d’, the most prestigious position among White House butlers, under Ronald Reagan.

According to Haygood, President Truman called him Gene.  President Ford liked to talk golf with him.

He was an ‘unknown’ however, HIStory will be told through a character played by Forest Whitaker using the name of Cecil Gaines (instead of Eugene Allen).  The film opens in theaters nationwide this Friday, August 16th ~ RC fans, please go see this film!

Below are some pictures of the late Mr. Eugene Allen and a brief video of how his story was taken from the shadows:

The Reagans w/Eugene Allen

The Reagans w/Eugene Allen

Eugene Allen (far right/front)

Eugene Allen (far right/front)


Eugene Allen (Pres. Ford in the background)


Eugene Allen w/his only son Charles Allen

Eugene Allen w/his only son Charles Allen

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