Lena Horne's Obituary (2023)

A few decades ago, the roles of black actors in Hollywood movies were deliberately kept out of the action so that their performances could be easily edited for screenings in the American South. Black singers and musicians were prohibited from occupying rooms in the same hotels where they performed. Couples in an interracial marriage may decide to leave the US and move to more hospitable places like Paris to avoid threats and hate speech. All this and more happened to the singer and actorlena horn, who died at the age of 92.

Horne not only challenged everything, but was instrumental in turning the tide. Velvety-voiced and multi-talented Horne first negotiated and then braved the worst that a racist entertainment industry could throw at her. She peaked as an original creative artist and free woman whose style, beauty, eloquence and independence made her a role model for millions.

During his long and varied career, Horne has shared the stage with Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Billy Eckstine, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and many other American music legends.

She was one of the first African-American women to transcend the color differences of the music business, touring with an all-white band, singing for the successful Charlie Barnet Swing Orchestra in the 1940s, and sometimes sleeping on the bus. of the band when they were not in the hotels. 'of the pen she lets your companions in. She became a favorite pin-up among black soldiers, but she refused to perform on war tours, where black soldiers were excluded from the public or occasionally placed in seats behind German prisoners of war.

(Video) Lena Horne: News Report of Her Death - May 9, 2010

Horne was selected by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to break Hollywood's color barrier and sign a long-term contract with a Hollywood studio. Horne became the highest-paid African-American actress in the United States in the 1940s, and her family strongly supported acting. Horne's father accompanied her to an initial meeting with MGM CEO Louis B. Mayer. When she was told that her daughter could play a servant role in a movie, she informed the mogul that she could hire her own servants and that her descendants would not have to play one of hers.

Political pressure from the black community began to affect the studios. The groundbreaking films Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather (both 1943) saw the first pivotal roles for African-Americans, with Ethel Waters, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington opposite Horne in the cast of the former. But there was a price for becoming a young figurehead in the early years of the Black Rise campaign. Horne had to endure frequent abuse, from perceived praise ("Café au lait Hedy Lamarr" or "Chocolate Chanteuse") to outright abuse. At first, she was willing to bite her lip so future generations wouldn't have to. The buildup of anger that he had built up over these years took its toll and didn't really abate until the civil rights movement of the 1960s supported a more open resistance movement.

Horne was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents divorced her and when she was a child she traveled with her mother, who was once an actress, looking for work in the 1920s for tent shows and vaudeville circuses. The squad she was with had to flee a small town in Florida where a lynching had just occurred.

When her mother remarried, young Lena grew up with her grandparents. She attended Washington High School in Atlanta and then Girls High School (now Boys and Girls High School) in Brooklyn. Her paternal grandmother, Cora Calhoun Horne, was a political activist who persuaded Lena to join the NAACP. At 16, after dropping out of high school, Horne became a dancer at Harlem's Cotton Club, encountering the music of Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Billie Holiday and meeting all the stars that performed there.

The Cotton Club had a black program that catered exclusively to a wealthy white clientele, and the pressure was hard to take. Horne's stepfather was attacked and thrown out of the venue for suggesting that the girl could sing and dance at the club.

(Video) Mourners gather at Lena Horne's funeral

Horne made her Broadway debut in the chorus of the 1934 Dance With Your Gods show. From 1935 to 1936 she was the lead singer of the all-black Noble Sissle Society Orchestra. But though she was beginning to feel the combination of storytelling, timing, and sonic power that would make her a name as a singer, she briefly abandoned her music career to make Pittsburgh her home, married Louis Jones at age 19, and child. she gave birth to two children, Gail and Teddy. She and Jones divorced in 1944.

Returning to the New York jazz scene, Horne followed Holiday to the left-liberal Café Society club in Greenwich Village. She then went to Hollywood to perform at the Little Troc Club and was noticed there by MGM music executive Roger Edens who brought her to the production company as a potential singer and actress.

Horne's first film for MGM (in which she sang two songs and lightened her skin by applying a make-up called Light Egyptian) was Panama Hattie (1942), with Horne as what she later described as a "window decoration". The Sky and Stormy Weather Changed All That Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler's theme song for Stormy Weather also became Horne's theme song and was associated with her for the rest of her career. her in such a favorable light. The musicals Swing Fever, the Ziegfeld Follies, and Meet Me in Las Vegas saw Horne's parts easily cut to appease southern distributors. She was also forced to reject suggestions that her fair complexion might make her ideal for Latin American roles.

However, Horne learned a great deal about vocal techniques and audience management during this time, was meticulously trained by MGM singer/actor/comedian Kay Thompson, and was funded by the studio for vocal tours to promote the films as a singer. The albums "Stormy Weather", "Deed I Do" and "As Long As I Live" were hits for her in the '40s.

In 1947, she married the white pianist and arranger Lennie Hayton, but the delicate politics of the marriage caused the couple to move to Paris for a time, and they avoided publicly announcing their marriage for three years. Home had been threatened by both whites and blacks. Horne responded, "Looking at Dad [Hayton], I don't think he's white. I think he's a man who's been nice to me." This second marriage was initially a comfortable and practical relationship that deepened significantly over its 24-year history. Communist sympathies also affected Horne, preventing him from appearing on film and television for a period of seven years when he was at his creative peak. . However, she continued to work in nightclubs, becoming a peerless performer in those more flexible and intimate circumstances.

(Video) Lena Horne Documentary: The Strange and Sad Ending

Several critically acclaimed Horne albums emerged from this period, including Lena Horne at the Waldorf Astoria (1957) and Lena Horne at the Sands (1961), as well as a US Top 20 hit with Love Me. Or Leave Me in 1955 and the classic 1959 album Porgy and Bess, which paired her with Harry Belafonte. Horne also landed the title role of her on Broadway in 1957, acting opposite Ricardo Montalbán in Arlen and Yip Harburg's musical Jamaica.

Horne participated in the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington and traveled to Mississippi to speak alongside Medgar Evers the night Evers was assassinated that summer. Horne said: “Nobody, black or white, who really believes in democracy can leave now; everyone has to stand up and be counted.” She began appearing regularly at rallies organized by the National Council of Negro Women.

In the 1960s, Horne recorded productively, returned to television, and had a direct-to-film role opposite Richard Widmark in the 1969 film Death of a Gunfighter. For taking a job that seemed to cast a negative light on women black. The next decade was marked by tragedy: Between 1970 and 1971, Horne's father died, her husband died of a heart attack, and her son Teddy died of kidney disease. Horne did little work until her appearance as Glinda the Good Witch in The Wiz (1978), an all-noir version of The Wizard of Oz. The film was directed by Horne's son-in-law, Sidney Lumet (who married Gail in 1963), and he starred as Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

In 1980, Horne received an honorary doctorate from Howard University. By this time, she had softened to the idea that since he hadn't gone to college, he could be demoted to higher education if he accepted. "When Howard presented me with my doctorate," Horne said, "I knew I had graduated from the school of life and was ready to accept it."

By 1981, the momentum of Horne's art career had returned to some of its previous momentum. An autobiographical one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music opened on Broadway, ran for over a year, and then toured internationally. This has earned him several awards, including a Tony Award and two Grammy Awards.

(Video) Lena Horne DIED PAINFULLY when her Husband Revealed her SECRET

In the late 1980s, he limited his public appearances. But his absence made his coverage of Billy Strayhorn's songs (he's always considered Duke Ellington's star arranger his biggest musical influence) at the 1993 JVC Jazz Festival an unexpected triumph. The performance spawned another album, We Be Together Again, the following year.

During this time, Horne had his last concert performances at Carnegie Hall in New York. In 1996, she won another Grammy for Best Jazz-Vocal Performance on the album An Evening With Lena Horne. In 1998, she confirmed that her awesome powers were intact with a stunning performance as Stormy Weather on US television's Rosie O'Donnell Show. She revisited the recording studios to contribute to Simon Rattle's Classic Ellington album in 2000.

After years of swallowing her anger and taking blows, Horne was able to reach a vantage point in her life where she was finally able to say, "My identity is now very clear to me. I am a black woman, I am not alone." I am free, I no longer need to be a merit, I don't need to be an icon for anyone, I don't need to be anyone's first, I don't need to be an imitation of a white woman. , that Hollywood expected me to become me. It's me and I'm like no one else."

Believe in Yourself, his closing song on The Wiz, has appropriately replaced Stormy Weather as the highlight of Horne's latest career.

She leaves Gail.

(Video) Sultry Photos of Lena Horne That You Can’t Take Your Eyes off Of


1. [VIDEO] OBITUARY: Lena Horne a Star in Hollywood and on Broadway - PETER THORNE
2. Final Farewell to Lena Horne at Funeral - New York Post
(New York Post)
3. Why was Lena Horne Sick to Death of Ava Gardner?
(Vintage Hollywood Archive)
4. Remembering Groundbreaking Jazz Icon, Actress Lena Horne
(PBS NewsHour)
5. Lena Horne DIED PAINFULLY When Her Husband Revealed Her SECRET
(Hollywood Celebs)
6. Lena Horne Documentary 1996
(M Ford)
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