R.I.P. The Legendary Lena Horne

Published by Clay Cane on Monday, May 10, 2010 at 8:59 am.

lenahorne2Before Halle Berry, Diana Ross and even Diahann Carroll, Lena Horne changed the world with her talent, beauty and fearlessness.  She broke down what was thought to be solid barriers, becoming an international legend. Born in Brooklyn on June 30, 1917 and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Horne got her start in 1933 when she joined the chorus line of the Cotton Club in Harlem. She was mainly a nightclub performer until she was discovered by a talent agent. In 1941, Horne was the first African-American performer to sign a long-term contact with a major movie studio, which was Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Her first film was in 1942, but because she was African American, most of her scenes were cut to stand-alone performances. Film after film, Horne endured her performances being cut down due to racism. However, in 1943, Horne starred in the all-Black musical, Cabin in the Sky, which also included Ethel Waters, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.

By the mid-1950s, Horne was disgusted with Hollywood. She was turned down for more roles than she was offered, and then Hollywood blacklisted her for her political views. Horne fought anti-lynching laws, she refused to perform for segregated audiences during World War II and was such a powerful force for civil rights she met President John F. Kennedy two days before he was assassinated.  In regard to the way she was treated by the powers that be in Hollywood, Horne said, “I don’t have to be an imitation of a White woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I’d become. I’m me, and I’m like nobody else.”  Lena was asked by several Hollywood heavyweights to just pass for White to get better roles, which she never did.  She also refused to play a maid — a role to which most Black actresses at that time were relegated.

Horne didn’t let Hollywood defeat her.  She appeared on several television shows, was nominated for a Tony Award in 1957, and also toured the world with several concerts. For her 1981 one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, she holds the record for the longest-running solo performance in Broadway history. In the 1990s, Lena Horne released several studio recordings, winning a Grammy in 1995 for Best Jazz Vocal Album.

In 1997, Horne had a resurgence of popularity among the younger generation when she appeared in a Gap commercial. By 1998, Horne officially retired from show business. Lena Horne died Sunday, May 9 at 92 years old in New York City.

Check out this clip below from Horne in Cabin in the Sky!

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Comments

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betty Said on

I PRAY FOR THE FAMILY ,GOD BLESS





Daphne Said on

My aunt and I got to see Lena Horne live onstage in DC in her one-woman show. A beautiful black lady with a lot of class and sass and so talented. There will never be another Lena! God bless you!



Vannice A. Harris Said on

WE SALUTE “THE HORNE.” R.I.P. WE WILL MISS YOU.



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Melinda Said on

R.I.P a job well done..



Melinda Said on

Lena Horne will be missed. Her legancy is still here with us. She was a good woman. The legendary Lena Horne is gone. Lena Horne’s soul,legancy,songs,and good and bad times are still here with us as we remember Lena Horne. She was a goog grandmother to her six grandchildern. Her mother,father, and children will be hourning her legancy. R.I.P Ms. Lena Horne! You will be missed! :(



Deborah Said on

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU



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Q Jones Said on

I can remember 8th grade when I did my black history biography book report on “Lena Horne” She has had so many accomplishments since 1991. I was truly inspired by her beauty and her opinions towards racism. She lived a wonderful life and thank you!



Brenda Stephenson Said on

I viewed a segment of “Like It Is” with Gil Noble interviewing Lena Horne and It reminded me of the true character in strength and honesty Ms. Horne possessed. She was and still is one of a kind. A real Lady! Thank you so much Ms. Horne for your contribution to the Human Race as a whole.



Brenda Stephenson Said on

I truly admire a strong black woman and Ms. Horne definitely fits that description for her perserverance of racism and prejudice. She embraced her integrity and kept it coming! I respect her for that.



Anita Monroe Said on

As a product of the ’50’s, I remember Ms. Lena Horne. I remember being so proud of all of her accomplishments on screen and radio. I loved her music as I loved her. He beauty and grace is insurmountable, as was flawless. Ms. Lena Horne you will be truly missed. Rest In Peace and I know GOD has prepared a party for your arrival in Heaven. You Are LOVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You will be missed.



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fashawnia gary Said on

she was a great actress and movie star I loved he in the wiz I have seen that movie so many times that I know it by heart u will loved and dearly missed rest in peace miss lena horne



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