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Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge

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Also Known As: The Dandridge Girls,Dorothy Dandridge,The Dandridge Girls Trio Died: September 8, 1965
Born: November 9, 1923 Cause of Death: embolism
Birth Place: Cleveland, Ohio Profession: Cast ... actor singer
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BIOGRAPHY

This child performer went on to become one of Hollywood's first black female stars. Called a "sepia siren" and the "most beautiful Negro singer since Lena Horne" by LIFE magazine (she was one of the first black female stars to appear on the magazine's cover), the tall, willowy beauty reached the pinnacle of stardom as the sultry seductress lead in two exceptional Hollywood musicals, "Carmen Jones" (1954), for which she was the first black woman to receive an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress, and "Porgy and Bess" (1959); ironically her voice was dubbed (by Marilyn Horne and Adele Addison) in both films. Under the tutelage of her mother, character actress Ruby Dandridge, she began her career in a musical act with her sister Vivian with whom she appeared in films ("A Day at the Races" 1937) and later performed with as big band singers in the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. After her divorce from Harold Nicholas of the famed dancing Nicholas brothers, Dandridge established herself as a sophisticated international nightclub singer and made a determined effort to become a dramatic film star. She played a committed young teacher in the drama "Bright Road" (1953) but it was as the eponymous temptress in "Carmen Jones" (1954) that she catapulted to stardom. Hollywood did not, however, find the roles to match her celebrity and it was several years before she appeared in a string of interracial romance problem dramas beginning with the then-controversial "Island in the Sun" (1957). After the success of Otto Preminger's lusciously produced "Porgy and Bess" (1959), Dandridge reluctantly resumed her nightclub career, finding a dearth of dramatic vehicles in Hollywood. Personal and financial problems overshadowed the end of her career and Dandridge died from a drug overdose at age 41, ironically coming to symbolize the "tragic mulatto" stereotype she had attempted to escape in her career.

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