| Share
 

Lena Horne

Horne, Lena (Lena Mary Calhoun Horne), 1917–2010, American singer and actress, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. Elegantly beautiful, Horne entered show business at 16 in the chorus line at Harlem's Cotton Club; she later sang there and was a vocalist with numerous bands. She debuted on Broadway in 1934 and achieved critical notice in "Blackbirds" of 1939 and 1940. In 1941 she moved to Hollywood and quickly became (1942) the first black performer signed to a long-term contract with a major studio and the highest-paid African-American actor. Nonetheless, her roles were usually limited to musical numbers, which could be cut if shown in the segregated South. Her rare dramatic roles were in two 1943 musical films with all-black casts, Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather, and she became famous for her sultry rendition of the latter's title song. Active in politics and civil rights, she was blacklisted from the stage and screen in the early 1950s, but continued working as a television actress and performer, nightclub singer, and recording artist, and returned to Broadway in Jamaica (1957). She also appeared in two more films, Death of a Gunfighter (1969) and The Wiz (1978). In 1981 she starred in a Tony-winning one-woman Broadway show.

See her autobiography (with R. Schickel, 1965, repr. 1986); biographies by B. Howard (1981), L. Palmer (1989), J. Haskins and K. Benson (1991), and J. Gavin (2009); G. L. Buckley (her daughter), The Hornes: An American Family (1986).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Lena Horne from Infoplease:

  • Lena Horne - Biography of Lena Horne, Singer of the jazz standard "Stormy Weather"
  • Lena Horne - Lena Horne jazz and pop singer, dancer, and actress Born: 6/30/1917 Birthplace: Brooklyn, N.Y. She ...
  • June 30 Birthdays: Lena Horne - June 30 birthdays: Lena Horne, Paul Berg, Czeslaw Milosz, Mike Tyson, Walter Ulbricht
  • Beverly Peer - Beverly Peer bass player accompanied singer and pianist Bobby Short for years; also performed with ...
  • Cab Calloway - Calloway, Cab Calloway, Cab (Cabell Calloway), 1907–94, jazz singer and band leader, b. ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: Popular and Jazz: Biographies

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring