Monday, May 10, 2010

RIP: LENA HORNE (1917-2010)

Lena Horne, the legendary actress-singer who broke new ground in Hollywood, has died. She was 92.

Horne passed away at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York on Sunday night (May 9), as announced by son-in-law Kevin Buckley, reports the New York Times.

As one of the first black performers to significantly infiltrate the studio system by signing a long-term contract with MGM, Horne was instrumental in integrating Hollywood. She appeared in a few well known musicals such as "Stormy Weather" -- which is also one of her signature songs -- and "Ziegfield Follies."

Horne was born in June 1917 in Brooklyn. By her teens she began singing in nightclubs, including the famed Cotton Club as a chorus girl.

Although her Hollywood career spanned six decades, she never really achieved any huge success in that arena often because of her African American heritage was seen by studios as a deterrent when casting for lead roles or roles that might necessitate an interracial relationship on screen.

She was best known in the entertainment world for her singing and showcased that in more nightclubs, on Broadway and on TV variety shows, including "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Judy Garland Show." Later in her career she appeared on "The Cosby Show" and "The Muppet Show."

She won several Grammy awards over her career and received a best actress Tony nomination for the musical "Jamaica." Later, she received a special Tony for her one-woman show, "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music."

Horne is survived by her daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, and granddaughter Jenny Lumet, screenwriter of "Rachel Getting Married."


  1. Such displays of talent and class are rare nowadays. We should always treasure the memory of Lena Horne.

  2. I did not always like Lena Horne's personality, but her singing and talent was great!