Black Excellence In History: Dorothy Dandridge

Singer and actress Dorothy Dandridge was born on November 9, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio. She began her career by performing with her sister Vivian at Harlem’s Cotton Club and Apollo Theatre.

In the early 30’s, Dandridge moved to Los Angeles with her family in search of stardom. As a teenager, Dandridge began to appear in small roles in a number of films and eventually found success as a solo singer performing in venues in New York, San Fransisco and London. She won her first starring film role in 1953’s Bright Road, playing an young schoolteacher opposite Harry Belafonte. Her next role as the leading lady in 1954’s Carmen Jones catapulted her to stardom.

Dandridge became the first African-American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. After her death in 1965, many years passed before the mainstream entertainment industry acknowledged Dandridge’s legacy.


In 1999, actress Halle Berry won a Golden Globe and an Emmy award for her portrayal of Dandridge in the acclaimed HBO film, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.

Source: Bio

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