Celebrating Black History Month: February 9

9 Feb

Honoring Dorothy Dandridge

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to an amazing woman who died far too young, Dorothy Dandridge. Dandridge was the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.  How ironic that Halle Berry, who played Dandridge in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, was the first African-American woman to win an academy award for Best Actress for  Monster’s Ball. Dandridge turned down the supporting role of Tuptim in The King and I because she refused to play a slave. It was rumored that she would play Billie Holliday in a film version of Lady Sings the Blues directed by Orson Welles, but it never panned out. During this horribly racist time in American history, it seems that Hollywood could not bear to create a suitable role for Dandridge, and they soon reverted to subtly prejudiced versions of interracial romance. Dorothy Dandridge died at age 42 of a drug overdose.

5 Responses to “Celebrating Black History Month: February 9”

  1. Jennifer February 9, 2011 at 6:42 am #

    Did you see the HBO movie about her life, “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge”? It was magnificent and Halle Berry was brilliant!
    Certain things I found so shocking, that Las Vegas (sin city where everything goes) would book her as an act and then make her use the ‘service entrance’ and would only hesitantly allow her to stay in the hotel (but she could not use any amenities like the pool).

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt February 9, 2011 at 6:45 am #

      Jen, great comments. Yes, I thought they did a great job of capturing her life. Bizarre how much she and Halle Berry look alike.

  2. jenny68 February 9, 2011 at 6:43 am #

    What a beautiful woman….That’s so sad

  3. webwordwarrior February 9, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    What a sad reminder that we’ve always looked for people to marginalize. How tragic that her talent was so neglected.

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