Horne, Lena

Singer, dancer, actress, civil rights activist, 1st Black performer to sign long-term studio contract

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Description:
Lena Horne (1917- 2010) African-American singer, actress, civil rights activist and dancer. She joined the chorus of the Cotton Club in 1933 at 16 and became a nightclub performer before moving to Hollywood, most noted for the films “Cabin in the Sky” and “Stormy Weather”. Due to the Red Scare and her left-leaning political views, Horne found herself blacklisted and unable to get work in Hollywood. During WW II, she refused to perform "for segregated audiences or for groups in which German POWs were seated in front of African American servicemen". She was at an NAACP rally with Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, the weekend before Evers was assassinated. She was at the 1963 March on Washington and spoke and performed on behalf of the NAACP, SNCC, and the National Council of Negro Women. She also worked with Eleanor Roosevelt to pass anti-lynching laws. In 1983, she was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP. Returning to her roots as a nightclub performer, she worked as a performer in nightclubs and on television, while releasing well-received record albums. In 1981, starred in a one-woman show, “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music”, which ran for over 300 performances on Broadway and earned her numerous awards and accolades. She continued recording and performing sporadically into the 1990s, disappearing from the public eye in 2000. In the spring of 1934, she had a featured role in the Cotton Club Parade. A few years later Horne joined Noble Sissle's Orchestra, with whom she recorded her first record. She toured with Charlie Barnet 1940–41, but left to work at the Café Society in New York. She was the featured vocalist on NBC's popular jazz series “The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street”. Horne already had 2 low-budget movies to her credit: a 1938 musical feature called “The Duke is Tops” (later reissued as “The Bronze Venus”); and a 1941 two-reel short subject, “Boogie Woogie Dream”. During a 1943 club engagement in Hollywood, talent scouts approached her to work in pictures. She chose MGM, and became the 1st Black performer to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio. In 1945 and 1946, she sang with Billy Eckstine's Orchestra. She made her debut with MGM in “Panama Hattie” (1942) and performed the title song “Stormy Weather” for 20th Century Fox, on loan from MGM. She appeared in a number of MGM musicals, most notably “Cabin in the Sky” (1943), but was never featured in a leading role because of her race. In Ziegfeld Follies (1946) she performed "Love". She wanted to be considered for the role of Julie in MGM's 1951 version of “Show Boat” but lost the part to Ava Gardner due to the Production Code's ban on interracial relationships in films. By the mid-50s, Horne, disenchanted with Hollywood, focused on her nightclub career. She only made 2 major appearances in MGM films during the 50s: “Duchess of Idaho” and the 1956 musical “Meet Me in Las Vegas”. Blacklisted during the 1950s, she returned to the screen 3 more times, “Death of a Gunfighter” (1969), “The Wiz” (1978), and co-hosting the MGM retrospective “That's Entertainment! III” (1994). One of the premiere performers of the post-war era, she headlined at clubs and hotels throughout the US, Canada, and Europe. In 1958, Horne was nominated for a Tony for "Best Actress in a Musical" for “Jamaica”. From the late 1950s through the 1960s, Horne was a staple of TV variety shows, and starred in her own 1969 TV special, “Monsanto Night Presents Lena Horne”. In 1970, she co-starred with Harry Belafonte in the hour-long “Harry & Lena” for ABC; in 1973, she co-starred with Tony Bennett in “Tony and Lena. Horne”. In the 1976 program “America Salutes Richard Rodgers”, she sang a lengthy medley of Rodgers songs.In 1981, she received a Special Tony for her one-woman show, “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music”. In 1989, she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The 1990s found her more active in the recording studio. 3 x 5 card signed “Yours, Lena Horne”, undated but mid-1940s, with portrait for framing.

Condition: Very good, uniform light toning
Type:Signed Card






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