...where every woman over 50 is TOP DOG!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

50 Women Over 50: Lena Horne

Lena Calhoun Horne was born on June 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, N.Y. The daughter of Edwin F. Horne, a civil servant and numbers runner, and Edna (Scottron) Horne, an actress, she came from a politically prominent family.

She appeared in films such as, Cabin In the Sky and Stormy Weather - the title song becoming her signature, but turned down other films because she refused to be cast as a domestic or other stereotypical roles.

Racial prejudice dogged her much of her life, but Lena Horne refused to let it get the best of her. Even when she was passed over for roles such a 1946 Broadway revival of Show Boat, being the choice of the musical's composer, Jerome Kern. She would also be passed over for the role in the 1951 film version in favor of the non-singing Ava Gardner. In a further irony, Ms. Gardner's skin was darkened for the part!

She was awarded the NAACP's highest honor, the Spingarn Medal, in 1983, and was a Kennedy Center honoree in 1984. The winner of two Grammy Awards and the best-selling album by a woman in the history of the RCA label, "Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria," she died at the age of 92.

To read more about this amazing performer, who was light years ahead of her time, click on Wikipedia and Boston.com


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Eileen Williams said...

I love your post on Lena Horne. What an amazing and courageous woman she was. I had the great pleasure of interviewing James Gavin who wrote the definitive biography about her life called "Stormy Weather."
If any of your readers would like to listen to our 15 minute interview, here's the link: http://bit.ly/dsrzTb. What he had to say about her was fascinating!

Diana Black said...

Great, Eileen! I'm heading to that site right this minute to listen! (you have the BEST interviews!)


Mary Cunningham said...

She was amazing, Eileen. Definitely going to check out the site.