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Lena Horne

Lena Horne

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Also Known As: Lena Mary Calhoun Horne, Helena Horne Died: May 9, 2010
Born: June 30, 1917 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: singer, actor, chorine

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of the greatest American artists of all time, Lena Horne endured more than her fair share of "Stormy Weather" as the title of her 1943 film and sultry signature song implied. Yet the chanteuse and actress - who possessed one of the most lush voices in the history of recorded music - broke down barriers, not only with performances of memorable songs like "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Black Coffee," but also for speaking out about the prejudice she experienced during her early years as a contract player at MGM and the subsequent hardships she experienced throughout her time in the entertainment business. The recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor in 1984, the elegant actress was a legend with a cause. Horne sang her pain, acted through intolerance, and fought long and hard to erase color lines.

One of the greatest American artists of all time, Lena Horne endured more than her fair share of "Stormy Weather" as the title of her 1943 film and sultry signature song implied. Yet the chanteuse and actress - who possessed one of the most lush voices in the history of recorded music - broke down barriers, not only with performances of memorable songs like "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Black Coffee," but also for speaking out about the prejudice she experienced during her early years as a contract player at MGM and the subsequent hardships she experienced throughout her time in the entertainment business. The recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor in 1984, the elegant actress was a legend with a cause. Horne sang her pain, acted through intolerance, and fought long and hard to erase color lines.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 That's Entertainment! III (1994) Host; Song Performer
3.
 Entertaining the Troops (1989) Herself
4.
 The Wiz (1978) Glinda The Good
5.
 Death of a Gunfighter (1969) Claire Quintana
7.
8.
 Duchess of Idaho (1950) Herself
9.
 Words and Music (1948)
10.
 Till the Clouds Roll By (1947) Julie in "Show Boat" number
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1933:
Joined the chorus line of the Cotton Club in New York City at age 16
1934:
Made her stage debut in "Dance with Your Gods"
:
Toured as a singer with Noble Sissle's Orchestra
1938:
Made her film debut in "The Duke Is Tops"
1940:
Toured with bandleader Charlie Barnet
1941:
Replaced Dinah Shore as the featured vocalist on NBC's popular jazz series "The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street"
1942:
Signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, becoming the first black performer to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio
1942:
First film with MGM, "Panama Hattie"
1943:
Made debut in a leading role in "Stormy Weather"; also performed the title song
1943:
Had a lead role in the all-black musical "Cabin in the Sky"
1945:
Featured in the musical "Ziegfeld Follies," where she performed "Love" by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane
1950:
Appeared in last film for six years, "Duchess of Idaho," starring Esther Williams
:
Blacklisted by movie and TV industries in the early 1950s for her political views
1956:
Appeared in the musical "Meet Me in Las Vegas"
1958:
Starred on Broadway in the Calypso musical "Jamaica"; received a Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical
1969:
Starred in her own U.S. television special "Monsanto Night Presents Lena Horne"
1969:
Returned to films playing a dramatic role in "Death of a Gunfighter"
1970:
Co-starred with Harry Belafonte in the hour long "Harry & Lena" for ABC
1974:
Toured England and the United States with Tony Bennett
1976:
Gave a memorable appearance in "America Salutes Richard Rodgers," where she sang a lengthy medley of Rodgers songs with Peggy Lee and Vic Damone
1978:
Returned to films after another lengthy absence to play Glinda the Good Witch in the all-black re-telling of "The Wizard of Oz," entitled "The Wiz"
1981:
Starred on Broadway in the long-running one-woman concert show "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music"
1988:
Recorded the album <i>The Men In My Life</i>, featuring duets with Sammy Davis, Jr. and Joe Williams
1989:
Appeared as herself in the feature documentary, "Entertaining the Troops"
1994:
Recorded an album composed largely of Strayhorn's and Ellington's songs, <i>We'll Be Together Again</i>
1994:
Co-hosted the documentary compilation "That's Entertainment III," saluting the halcyon days of the MGM musical
1994:
Made her final concert performances at New York's Supper Club and Carnegie Hall; a live album of these concerts were released the following year
1998:
Released her final studio album, <i>Being Myself</i>
2000:
Briefly returned to the recording studio to contribute vocal tracks on Simon Rattle's <i>Classic Ellington</i> album
2004:
Appeared as herself in the celebration of MGM's golden years "The Masters Behind the Musicals"
2006:
A collection of rare and unreleased recordings were released by Blue Note Records, <i>Seasons of a Life</i>
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Washington High School: Atlanta , Georgia -
Girls High School: Brooklyn , New York -

Notes

Horne received an honorary degree from Fordham University in 1997

Horne received an honorary degree from Yale in 1998.

About her experience in Hollywood, Horne has said: "They didn't make me into a maid, but they didn't make me into anything else either. I became a butterfly pinned to a column, singing away in Movieland."

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Louis Jones. Father of Horne's two children.
husband:
Lennie Hayton. Music director. Worked on many MGM musicals of the 1940s; white; married in Paris, France in 1947; separated in the 1960s; died in 1971.

Family close complete family listing

grandfather:
Edwin Horne. Lobbyist. Co-founded United Colored Democracy; helped raise Horne.
grandmother:
Cora Horne. Helped raised Horne.
father:
Ted Horne. Divorced from Horne's mother c. 1920; reunited with Horne in the 1930s; died in 1970.
mother:
Edna Scotchron. Actor. Member of Harlem's Lafayette stock company; divorced from Horne's father c. 1920.
daughter:
Gail Lumet Buckley. Writer. Born c. 1937 married to writer Kevin Buckley; formerly married to film director Sidney Lumet.
son:
Teddy Jones. Born c. 1940; died c. 1970 of kidney failure at age 30; survived by three children.
granddaughter:
Jenny Lumet. Actor. Gave birth to Horne's great-grandson c. 1995.
great-grandson:
Jacob Cannavale. Born c. 1995; mother, Jenny Lumet.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"In Person: Lena Horne"
"Lena"
"Lena"
"Lena: A Personal and Professional Biography of Lena Horne"
"The Hornes: An American Family"
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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