Lena Horne
Singer, actress, activist
Lena Horne
Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was an American singer, actress, civil rights activist and dancer. Horne joined the chorus of the Cotton Club at the age of sixteen and became a nightclub performer before moving to Hollywood, where she had small parts in numerous movies, and more substantial parts in 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.
Biography
Lena Horne's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Lena Horne from around the web
It's natural, bay-bee - Detroit Metro Times
Google News - over 5 years
... night (Collected Works: A Jazz Journal) when on Page 138 I ran into my old and much-missed friend JC Heard in 1940 drumming with Teddy Wilson's band, swinging "an exemplary mid-tempo blue" behind Lena Horne in the film short Boogie Woogie Dream
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'The Guy With Four Sticks' - Wall Street Journal
Google News - over 5 years
One night he took me to see Lena Horne and I was blown away. He had gotten his sense of phrasing from singers, so I always felt I owed him a lot." What changes has he witnessed in jazz over his 50-year career? "When I started out, it was the golden era
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The song that ate the world: The global domination of “Hava Nagila.” - Jewish United Fund
Google News - over 5 years
Other versions have been performed by a huge variety of American stars: Chubby Checker (a twist version), Connie Francis, Glenn Campbell (it's the B-side of “True Grit”), Lena Horne, surf-rocker Dick Dale, and of course Jewish performers from The Barry
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The Dark and Stormy Mixtape - WNYC
Google News - over 5 years
Track 2: "Stormy Weather" by Lena Horne – Singer, actress and civil rights activist Lena Horne died last May. She was 92. Horne, who grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, sang "Stormy Weather" and played the sultry lead in the 1943 film of the same name
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'The Wiz' to Lead Bounce TV Launch - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
THE WIZ, which debuted on Broadway in 1975, won seven Tony Awards including Best Musical and was produced in 1978 by Motown/Universal as a film starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Lena Horne, and Richard Pryor. After celebrating the demise of the
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Salli Richardson-Whitfield Talks I Will Follow - BET
Google News - over 5 years
BET.com caught up with Richardson-Whitfield to discuss her latest film, the controversy surrounding The Help and her dream role of playing Lena Horne. Lots of movies go into melodrama when they feature characters dealing with death, but I Will Follow
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L'Toska “Tos” Powell, 97, hair stylist to African-American stars - Chicago Sun-Times
Google News - over 5 years
L'Toska Powell counted Lena Horne, Mahalia Jackson and Dinah Washington among clients, relatives say. Born in the bad old days when African-Americans had to step off the sidewalk for whites in her Mississippi town, L'Toska Powell moved to Chicago,
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Lena Horne and Katherine Dunham Break Ground in Stormy Weather - FemPop
Google News - over 5 years
The film barely has a plot, the romance between the 56-year-old Robinson and the 26-year-old Lena Horne is so chaste and harmless it practically qualifies as a romance and more than one joke falls flat. That's not saying it's a bad film
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Salli Richardson-Whitfield on Lena Horne 'Dream Role' in Screen Biopic - Indie Wire (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Salli Richardson-Whitfield expressed her desire to portray legendary singer, actress and activist Lena Horne in her latest eur web interview with Ricardo Hazell. Whitfield, whose show Eureka was just cancelled by SyFy (see post here), will be seen next
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Mos Def, Ted Sperling, Leslie Uggams, et al. Set for Brooklyn Philharmonic's ... - TheaterMania.com
Google News - over 5 years
Mos Def and Leslie Uggams will both be featured in Mos Def, Lena Horne and the Bed-Stuy Tradition, to be offered on June 9 at the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza. The event will feature songs made famous by Horne, such as "From This Moment On,"
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Lena Horne bio with former 'Supreme' opens annual performing arts series at ... - KY3
Google News - over 5 years
Mary Wilson, a founding member of The Supremes, a Motown group, will appear in “Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne” at Missouri University of Science and Technology this fall. The multi-media event will also feature narration by James Gavin,
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Bloggers Night Out a hit for VH1's Tionna Smalls - Examiner.com
Google News - over 5 years
Surrounding Tionna Smalls were wall pictures of past and present women of "divaness," uniqueness and strength including Marylin Monroe, Lena Horne, Mary J Blige, and of course Brooklyn's own Lil Kim. As she encouraged bloggers to network with each
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This Day in Film: Stormy Weather - BET
Google News - over 5 years
The film starred the legendary Lena Horne, along with Cab Calloway, Fats Walter, Fayard and Harold Nicholas and Katherine Dunham. In 2001, Stormy Weather was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of
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BWW Reviews: Freda Payne Sings Her Heart Out @ Catalina Jazz Club - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
Fitzgerald, that is, Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington...and Lena Horne. Payne's a great pop vocalist, yes, but it is in these areas of jazz and the unforgettable standards of the Great American Songbook where she truly excels
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Her life is some story - Albany Times Union
Google News - over 5 years
She joined forces once again with Michael Bush, who had directed Uggams in "Stormy Weather: The Lena Horne Story," to assemble an evening's worth of song and chat. "We had gotten really close working on the Lena show and I felt that if I was going to
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Where Is The Love? Nat 'King' Cole Play At Hartford Stage Devoid Of Charisma - Hartford Courant
Google News - over 5 years
This show made me recall Lena Horne's solo show in the early '80s, a great theatrical experience. That was a very personal journey where her career, personal life and political involvement intersected. The audience first listened to "Storny Weather" as
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Lena Horne
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2010
    Age 92
    Horne died on May 9, 2010, in New York City The funeral took place at St. Ignatius Loyola Church on Park Avenue in New York.
    More Details Hide Details Thousands gathered and attendees included Leontyne Price, Dionne Warwick, Liza Minnelli, Jessye Norman, Chita Rivera, Cicely Tyson, Diahann Carroll, Leslie Uggams, Lauren Bacall, Robert Osborne, Audra McDonald and Vanessa Williams.
  • 2007
    Age 89
    In 2007, Horne was portrayed by Leslie Uggams as the older Lena and Nikki Crawford as the younger Lena in the stage musical Stormy Weather staged at the Pasadena Playhouse in California (January to March 2009).
    More Details Hide Details In 2011, Horne was also portrayed by actress Ryan Jillian in a one-woman show titled Notes from A Horne staged at the Susan Batson studio in New York City, from November 2011 to February 2012. The 83rd Academy Awards presented a tribute to Horne by actress Halle Berry at the ceremony held February 27, 2011. Issued in 1936 on 78rpm 10" vinyl by Decca Records on Decca 778B. Credits Noble Sissle and his Orchestra, Lena Horne was credited as Leana Horne for this recording. Recorded on November 3, 1936 in New York. Bibliography
  • 2005
    Age 87
    In January 2005, Blue Note Records, her label for more than a decade, announced that "the finishing touches have been put on a collection of rare and unreleased recordings by the legendary Horne made during her time on Blue Note."
    More Details Hide Details Remixed by her longtime producer Rodney Jones, the recordings featured Horne in remarkably secure voice for a woman of her years, and include versions of such signature songs as "Something to Live For", "Chelsea Bridge", and "Stormy Weather". The album, originally titled Soul but renamed Seasons of a Life, was released on January 24, 2006.
    Oprah Winfrey stated to Alicia Keys during a 2005 interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show that she might possibly consider producing the biopic herself, casting Keys as Horne.
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  • 2004
    Age 86
    In the weeks following Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" debacle during the 2004 Super Bowl, however, Variety reported that Horne had demanded Jackson be dropped from the project. "ABC executives resisted Horne's demand", according to the Associated Press report, "but Jackson representatives told the trade newspaper that she left willingly after Horne and her daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, asked that she not take part."
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  • 2003
    Age 85
    In 2003, ABC announced that Janet Jackson would star as Horne in a television biographical film.
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  • 2000
    Age 82
    Thereafter, Horne essentially retired from performing and largely retreated from public view, though she did return to the recording studio in 2000 to contribute vocal tracks on Simon Rattle's Classic Ellington album.
    More Details Hide Details Horne was long involved with the Civil Rights movement. In 1941, she sang at Cafe Society and worked with Paul Robeson. During World War II, when entertaining the troops for the USO, she refused to perform "for segregated audiences or for groups in which German POWs were seated in front of African American servicemen", according to her Kennedy Center biography. Because the U.S. Army refused to allow integrated audiences, she wound up putting on a show for a mixed audience of black U.S. soldiers and white German POWs. Seeing the black soldiers had been forced to sit in the back seats, she walked off the stage to the first row where the black troops were seated and performed with the Germans behind her. She was at an NAACP rally with Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, the weekend before Evers was assassinated. She also met President John F. Kennedy at the White House two days before he was assassinated. She was at the 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. Tom Lehrer mentions her in his song "National Brotherhood Week" in the line "Lena Horne and Sheriff Clark are dancing cheek to cheek" referring (wryly) to her and to Sheriff Jim Clark, of Selma, Alabama, who was responsible for a violent attack on civil rights marchers in 1965.
  • 1998
    Age 80
    In 1998, Horne released another studio album, entitled Being Myself.
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  • 1995
    Age 77
    In 1995, a "live" album capturing her Supper Club performance was released (subsequently winning a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album).
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  • 1993
    Age 75
    Following her 1993 performance at a tribute to the musical legacy of her good friend Billy Strayhorn (Duke Ellington's longtime collaborator), she decided to record an album composed largely of Strayhorn's and Ellington's songs the following year, We'll Be Together Again.
    More Details Hide Details To coincide with the release of the album, Horne made what would be her final concert performances at New York's Supper Club and Carnegie Hall. That same year, Horne also lent her vocals to a recording of "Embraceable You" on Sinatra's Duets II album. Though the album was largely derided by critics, the Sinatra-Horne pairing was generally regarded as its highlight.
  • 1989
    Age 71
    In 1989, she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
    More Details Hide Details The 1990s found Horne considerably more active in the recording studio.
  • 1983
    Age 65
    A proposed 1983 joint recording project between Horne and Frank Sinatra (to be produced by Quincy Jones) was ultimately abandoned, and her sole studio recording of the decade was 1988's The Men in My Life, featuring duets with Sammy Davis Jr. and Joe Williams.
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  • 1982
    Age 64
    The 333-performance Broadway run closed on Horne's 65th birthday, June 30, 1982.
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  • 1981
    Age 63
    In 1981, she received a Special Tony Award for her one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, which also played to acclaim at the Adelphi Theatre in London in 1984.
    More Details Hide Details Despite the show's considerable success (Horne still holds the record for the longest-running solo performance in Broadway history), she did not capitalize on the renewed interest in her career by undertaking many new musical projects.
    In May 1981, The Nederlander Organization, Michael Frazier, and Fred Walker went on to book Horne for a four-week engagement at the newly named Nederlander Theatre (formerly the Trafalgar, the Billy Rose, and the National) on West 41st Street in New York City.
    More Details Hide Details The show was an instant success and was extended to a full year run, garnering Horne a special Tony award, and two Grammy Awards for the cast recording of her show Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music.
  • 1980
    Age 62
    On April 13, 1980, Horne, Luciano Pavarotti, and host Gene Kelly were all scheduled to appear at a Gala performance at the Metropolitan Opera House to salute the NY City Center's Joffrey Ballet Company.
    More Details Hide Details However, Pavarotti's plane was diverted over the Atlantic and he was unable to appear. James Nederlander was an invited Honored Guest and noted that only three people at the sold out Metropolitan Opera House asked for their money back. He asked to be introduced to Lena following her performance.
    In the summer of 1980, Horne, 63 years old and intent on retiring from show business, embarked on a two-month series of benefit concerts sponsored by the sorority Delta Sigma Theta.
    More Details Hide Details These concerts were represented as Horne's farewell tour, yet her retirement lasted less than a year.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1976
    Age 58
    In the 1976 program America Salutes Richard Rodgers, she sang a lengthy medley of Rodgers songs with Peggy Lee and Vic Damone.
    More Details Hide Details Horne also made several appearances on The Flip Wilson Show. Additionally, Horne played herself on television programs such as The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, and Sanford and Son in the 1970s, as well as a 1985 performance on The Cosby Show and a 1993 appearance on A Different World.
  • 1970
    Age 52
    In 1970, she co-starred with Harry Belafonte in the hour-long Harry & Lena special for ABC; in 1973, she co-starred with Tony Bennett in Tony and Lena.
    More Details Hide Details Horne and Bennett subsequently toured the U.S. and U.K. in a show together.
  • 1969
    Age 51
    Besides two television specials for the BBC (later syndicated in the U.S.), Horne starred in her own U.S. television special in 1969, Monsanto Night Presents Lena Horne.
    More Details Hide Details During this decade, the artist Pete Hawley painted her portrait for RCA Victor, capturing the mood of her performance style.
  • FORTIES
  • 1958
    Age 40
    In 1958, Horne became the first African-American woman to be nominated for a Tony Award for "Best Actress in a Musical" (for her part in the "Calypso" musical Jamaica) which, at Lena's request featured her longtime friend Adelaide Hall.
    More Details Hide Details From the late 1950s through to the 1960s, Horne was a staple of TV variety shows, appearing multiple times on Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dean Martin Show, and The Bell Telephone Hour. Other programs she appeared on included The Judy Garland Show, The Hollywood Palace, and The Andy Williams Show.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1957
    Age 39
    In 1957, a live album entitled, Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria, became the biggest selling record by a female artist in the history of the RCA Victor label at that time.
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  • 1956
    Age 38
    She only made two major appearances for MGM during the 1950s: Duchess of Idaho (which was also Eleanor Powell's final film); and the 1956 musical Meet Me in Las Vegas.
    More Details Hide Details She was blacklisted during the 1950s for her affiliations in the 1940s with communist-backed groups. She would subsequently disavow communism. She returned to the screen three more times, playing chanteuse Claire Quintana in the 1969 film Death of a Gunfighter, Glinda in The Wiz (1978), a film younger audience members recognize her from, and co-hosting the MGM retrospective That's Entertainment! III (1994), in which she was candid about her unkind treatment by the studio. After leaving Hollywood, Horne established herself as one of the premier nightclub performers of the post-war era. She headlined at clubs and hotels throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, including the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles, and the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.
  • 1951
    Age 33
    Horne lobbied for the role of Julie LaVerne in MGM's 1951 version of Show Boat (having already played the role when a segment of Show Boat was performed in Till the Clouds Roll By) but lost the part to Ava Gardner, a personal friend in real life.
    More Details Hide Details Horne claimed this was due to the Production Code's ban on interracial relationships in films, but MGM sources state she was never considered for the role in the first place. In the documentary That's Entertainment! III Horne stated that MGM executives required Gardner to practice her singing using Horne's recordings, which offended both actresses. Ultimately, Gardner's voice was overdubbed by actress Annette Warren (Smith) for the theatrical release. By the mid-1950s, Horne was disenchanted with Hollywood and increasingly focused on her nightclub career.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1947
    Age 29
    Horne's second marriage was to Lennie Hayton, who was Music Director and one of the premier musical conductors and arrangers at MGM, in December 1947 in Paris.
    More Details Hide Details They separated in the early 1960s, but never divorced; he died in 1971. In her as-told-to autobiography Lena by Richard Schickel, Horne recounts the enormous pressures she and her husband faced as an interracial couple. She later admitted in an interview in Ebony (May 1980), she had married Hayton to advance her career and cross the "color-line" in show business. Horne also had a long and close relationship with Billy Strayhorn, whom she said she would have married if he had been heterosexual. He was also an important professional mentor to her. Screenwriter Jenny Lumet, known for her award-winning screenplay Rachel Getting Married, is Horne's granddaughter, the daughter of filmmaker Sidney Lumet and Horne's daughter Gail. Her other grandchildren include Gail's other daughter, Amy Lumet, and her son's four children, Thomas, William, Samadhi and Lena. Her great-grandchildren include the actor Jake Cannavale.
  • 1945
    Age 27
    In 1945 and 1946, she sang with Billy Eckstine's Orchestra.
    More Details Hide Details She made her debut at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Panama Hattie (1942) and performed the title song of Stormy Weather based loosely on the life of Adelaide Hall, (1943), which she made at 20th Century Fox, on loan from MGM. She appeared in a number of MGM musicals, most notably Cabin in the Sky (also 1943), but was never featured in a leading role because of her race and the fact that her films had to be re-edited for showing in cities where theaters would not show films with black performers. As a result, most of Horne's film appearances were stand-alone sequences that had no bearing on the rest of the film, so editing caused no disruption to the storyline; a notable exception was the all-black musical Cabin in the Sky, although one number was cut because it was considered too suggestive by the censors. "Ain't it the Truth" was the song (and scene) cut before the release of the film Cabin in the Sky. It featured Horne singing "Ain't it the Truth", while taking a bubble bath (considered too "risqué" by the film's executives). This scene and song are featured in the film That's Entertainment! III (1994) which also featured commentary from Horne on why the scene was deleted prior to the film's release. Lena Horne was the first African-American elected to serve on the Screen Actors Guild board of directors. In Ziegfeld Follies (1946) she performed "Love" by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane.
  • 1944
    Age 26
    In November 1944, she was featured in an episode of the popular radio series Suspense, as a fictional nightclub singer, with a large speaking role along with her singing.
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  • 1942
    Age 24
    Horne made her Hollywood nightclub debut at Felix Young's Little Troc on the Sunset Strip in January 1942.
    More Details Hide Details A few weeks later, she was signed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, becoming the first black performer to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio.
  • 1941
    Age 23
    The show's resident maestros, Henry Levine and Paul Laval, recorded with Horne in June 1941 for RCA Victor.
    More Details Hide Details Horne left the show after only six months when she was hired by former Cafe Trocadero (Los Angeles) manager Felix Young to perform in a Cotton Club-style revue on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, and was replaced by actress Betty Keene of the Keene sisters. Horne already had two low-budget movies to her credit: a 1938 musical feature called The Duke is Tops (later reissued with Horne's name above the title as The Bronze Venus); and a 1941 two-reel short subject, Boogie Woogie Dream, featuring pianists Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons. Horne's songs from Boogie Woogie Dream were later released individually as soundies.
  • 1940
    Age 22
    Horne and Jones separated in 1940 and divorced in 1944.
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    After she separated from her first husband, Horne toured with bandleader Charlie Barnet in 1940–41, but disliked the travel and left the band to work at the Cafe Society in New York.
    More Details Hide Details She replaced Dinah Shore as the featured vocalist on NBC's popular jazz series The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1937
    Age 19
    Horne married Louis Jordan Jones in January 1937 in Pittsburgh.
    More Details Hide Details On December 21, 1937, their daughter, Gail (later known as Gail Lumet Buckley, a writer) was born there. They had a son, Edwin Jones (born February 7, 1940 – September 12, 1970) who died of kidney disease.
  • 1934
    Age 16
    In the spring of 1934, she had a featured role in the Cotton Club Parade starring Adelaide Hall, who took Lena under her wing.
    More Details Hide Details A few years later Horne joined Noble Sissle's Orchestra, with which she toured and with whom she made her first records, issued by Decca.
  • 1933
    Age 15
    In the fall of 1933, Horne joined the chorus line of the Cotton Club in New York City.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1927
    Age 9
    When Horne was five, she was sent to live in Georgia. For several years, she traveled with her mother. From 1927 to 1929 she lived with her uncle, Frank S. Horne, Dean of Students at Fort Valley Junior Industrial Institute (now part of Fort Valley State University) in Fort Valley, Georgia, who later served as an adviser to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
    More Details Hide Details From Fort Valley, southwest of Macon, Horne briefly moved to Atlanta with her mother; they returned to New York when Horne was 12 years old. She then attended Girls High School, an all-girls public high school in Brooklyn that has since become Boys and Girls High School; she dropped out without earning a diploma. Aged 18, she moved in with her father in Pittsburgh, staying in the city's Little Harlem for almost five years and learning from native Pittsburghers Billy Strayhorn and Billy Eckstine, among others.
  • 1917
    Born
    Born on June 30, 1917.
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