Lena Horne's light still shines, leaving behind a lasting legacy in the world of arts and entertainment.
Lena Horne, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1941
* Video (Lena Horne passes away, AP, May 2010)
American singer, actress, dancer and civil rights activist, Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was born on June 30, 1917, and died on May 9, 2010; she passed away at the age of 92, in her hometown of Brooklyn, New York.
Horne's illustrious career began in 1933, at the age of sixteen, when she had to drop out of high school to take care of her ailing mother. At night, she would leave the house and sing blues and jazz songs with the chorus at New York's Cotton Club. She quickly became a popular act and began touring the states with several other musical bands, until she broke out on her own in the early 1940's.
Wikipedia.org reports that in 1942, Horne "became the first Black performer to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio," by joining with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Her film debut was in Panama Hattie (1942), and she also performed the title song of Stormy Weather (1943).
* Video (Lena Horne performance, Stormy Weather, 1943)
* Video (Lena Horne and cast, trailer, Cabin in the Sky, 1943)
Lena Horne in "Till the Clouds Roll By," 1946
Although she battled racism and extreme, unfair practices in Hollywood (even being 'blacklisted' for her political voice), Horne remained a staunch Civil Rights Activist, and her career went on to span 50+ years in the entertainment industry. Horne holds the record for the longest-running solo performance in Broadway history (333 stage performances), for her one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. In 1981, Horne received a Special Tony Award and two Grammy Awards for the show, and in 1989, she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, for her astonishing career.
As of 2005, it was reported that Oprah Winfrey had considered producing a biopic of Horne's life and intended to cast Alicia Keys as the starlet, yet, no new information has surfaced about the project.
* Video (Lena Horne's funeral, New York City, NY Post, May 2010)
Horne leaves behind one daughter (Gail Lumet Buckley, a best-selling author), two granddaughters (Amy and Jenny Lumet; Jenny wrote the screenplay for "Rachel Getting Married" 2008, and both are the daughters of acclaimed film director Sidney Lumet, "The Wiz" 1978), and several great-grandchildren.
We here at STYLE 101: remember Lena Horne's spirit, and we honor her legacy... May God Bless And Rest Her Soul.
www.google.com, www.youtube.com (MarkusRTK, AP, Adlerangriffe, NYPost), www.wikipedia.org