Lena Horne Dies at 92
Lena Horne, who was the first African American performer to be signed to a long-term contract by a major Hollywood studio, has died at the age of 92.
Singer, dancer and actress Lena Horne died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday night, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Horne was 92.
“I think the black boy that cleaned the shoes and me were the only two black people except the maids who were there working for the stars,” Horne said in a CNN interview. “And it was very lonely, and I wasn’t very happy.”
From the New York Times:
Her death was announced by her son-in-law, Kevin Buckley.
Ms. Horne might have become a major movie star, but she was born 50 years too early, and languished at MGM in the 1940s because of the color of her skin, although she was so light-skinned that, when she was a child, other black children had taunted her, accusing her of having a “white daddy.”
Ms. Horne was stuffed into one “all-star” musical after another — “Thousands Cheer” (1943), “Broadway Rhythm” (1944), “Two Girls and a Sailor” (1944), “Ziegfeld Follies” (1946), “Words and Music” (1948) — to sing a song or two that could easily be snipped from the movie when it played in the South, where the idea of an African-American performer in anything but a subservient role in a movie with an otherwise all-white cast was unthinkable.