Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge

Actress + Singer
Born Nov 9, 1922

Dorothy Jean Dandridge was an American actress and popular singer, and was the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. She performed as a vocalist in venues such as the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater. After several minor bit parts in films, Dandridge landed her first noted film role in Tarzan's Peril, in 1951.… Read More

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1922 Birth Dorothy Dandridge was born on November 9, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio to aspiring entertainer Ruby Dandridge (née Butler)(March 3, 1900 – October 17, 1987) and Cyril Dandridge (October 25, 1895 – July 9, 1989), a cabinetmaker and minister, who had separated just before her birth. … Read More


1934 - 1935 2 More Events
1936 13 Years Old As a part of The Dandridge Sisters, she appeared in The Big Broadcast of 1936 (1936) with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, A Day at the Races with the Marx Brothers, and It Can't Last Forever (both 1937) with the Jackson Brothers. … Read More
1941 18 Years Old Dandridge appeared as part of a "Specialty Number" in the hit 1941 musical film, Sun Valley Serenade for 20th Century Fox. … Read More
1942 19 Years Old Dandridge married dancer and entertainer Harold Nicholas on September 6, 1942, and gave birth to her only child, Harolyn Suzanne Nicholas, on September 2, 1943. Harolyn was born brain-damaged, and the couple divorced in October 1951. … Read More


1950 27 Years Old Dandridge's testimony further strengthened the prosecution's case. Alleged by one tabloid to have fornicated with a white bandleader in the woods of Lake Tahoe in 1950, she testified that racial segregation had confined her to her hotel during her nightclub engagement in the Nevada resort city. … Read More
1951 28 Years Old 1 More Event
She continued to appear occasionally in films and on the stage throughout the rest of the decade, but few of these appearances were noteworthy. In 1951, Dandridge appeared as Melmendi, Queen of the Ashuba in Tarzan's Peril, starring Lex Barker and Virginia Huston. … Read More
1952 29 Years Old In December 1952, a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio agent saw Dandridge perform at the Mocambo and recommended to Production Chief Dore Schary that she might be cast as Jane Richards in Bright Road, which would be her first starring role as a "wonderful, emotional actress" as the trailer stated. … Read More


1953 30 Years Old In 1953, a nationwide publicity search arose as 20th Century Fox began the process of casting the all-black musical film adaptation of Oscar Hammerstein II's 1943 Broadway musical Carmen Jones, conceptually Georges Bizet's opera Carmen updated to a World War II-era African-American setting. … Read More
Despite her recognition as a singer, Dandridge's voice was dubbed by operatic vocalist Marilyn Horne for the film. Carmen Jones opened to favorable reviews and strong box office returns on October 28, 1954, earning $70,000 during its first week and $50,000 during its second. … Read More
1955 32 Years Old 1 More Event
On February 15, 1955, Dandridge signed a three-movie deal with 20th Century Fox starting at $75,000 a film. … Read More
Dandridge was one of the few Hollywood stars who testified at the 1957 criminal libel trial of Hollywood Research, Inc., the company that published all of the era's tabloid magazines. … Read More
1958 35 Years Old 1 More Event
In late 1958, Dandridge accepted producer Samuel Goldwyn's offer to star in his forthcoming production of Porgy and Bess, which would become her first major Hollywood film in five years. … Read More
1959 36 Years Old Dandridge married Jack Denison on June 22, 1959; they divorced in 1962 amid financial setbacks and allegations of domestic violence. … Read More


1965 42 Years Old 1 More Event
On September 8, 1965, Dandridge spoke by telephone with friend and former sister-in-law Geraldine "Geri" Branton. … Read More
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