May 10, 2010

The iconic Lena Horne.



"Lena Horne, who was the first black performer to be signed to a long-term contract by a major Hollywood studio and who went on to achieve international fame as a singer, died on Sunday night at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. She was 92 and lived in Manhattan."

16 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

One of the last of the great jazz singers.

I never saw Lena sing in person, but I was a fan.

Joe said...

I never saw Lena sing in person, but I was a fan.

By your avatar I can tell you're a racist....

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I went to a Lena Horne show in San Francisco in the mid 1980's. It was a one woman show where she did many of her signature songs

She was beautiful and her voice was still fabulous.

Scott said...

She refused to play a maid or other servant role in Hollywood. Her contribution to promoting civil rights for African Americans was as great as her artistic contributions. And she was a good looking and energetic woman well into her 80s.

There will never be another Lena Horne because she was a phenomenon in an era that has passed. We can only hope that there will be others whose greatness is apparent from their deeds, and not merely by their artistry in stringing cliches together.

edutcher said...

I've read she really hated her white fans. How true, I can't say, but, if true, it's ironic that she would dislike some people for giving her what she presumably wanted - status on a basis of merit, rather than skin color.

The usual suspects will say she hated them because of their racism toward the majority of blacks, but there has to be a pioneer to open people's eyes first and that was her, among others.

Sad she couldn't see that.

vet66 said...

She was a classy late with the voice of an Angel. She is singing in GOD's choir now.

In the day we were raised on Amos n' Andy, Rochester on the Jack Benny show and a slew of entertainers who did more to erase racial barriers than the combined efforts of all the race baiters combined.

"Stormy Weather" will never sound the same again!

Brent said...

My first crush. Certainly one of the most beautiful women ever.

rcocean said...

Loved her as a singer. Not much of an actress though.

ricpic said...

Was Lena Horne frigid? That's the vibe she gave off.

William said...

Producers of that era wanted pretty, white girls with black voices. She was a pretty, colored girl with a white voice.. It was her beauty, not her voice, that made her a star. But there wasn't a ecological niche for that kind of beauty. There was talk of giving her the Julie role in Showboat, but no one had the courage to run that bend in the river....Beautiful women are usually overindulged, but she didn't get to duck the slings and arrows. Perhaps the bad experiences gave permanence and shadow to the quick dazzle of her beauty. That's what made her in later years more interesting than, say, Doris Day.....There are not a great many women singers who lead happy lives. In the end, her life was no more frayed or broken than that of Doris Day. The bumps in the life of Doris were due to her own bad decisions. Lena got to subsume her sorrows under the rubric of prejudice. Perhaps her somber three a.m. thoughts on the unfairness of life were less lacerating than those of Doris. Who even knows? At any rate, Lena got to live a long life and got to feel that she had triumphed in the end.

save_the_rustbelt said...

The world is a lesser place - thank God for recording technology.

None of today's silly pop princesses, with their dope and plastic surgery, even belong on the same planet.

Scott said...

RE comments by edutcher, ricpic, william:

For me it's always been annoying when a famous performer expresses viewpoints that are uninformed or execrable. I always think twice before deciding to see a movie with Sean Penn in it, for example. But he is a great actor, and I thought his performance as Harvey Milk in the movie "Milk" was tremendous. I'm glad I didn't deprive myself of seeing that movie merely because Penn is a leftist clown.

And it always raises my hackles when there's open speculation about a performer's sexuality--gay, lesbian, loose, frigid, whatever. Did Lena Horne seem a little uptight as a performer? Maybe. Frigid? I never considered sleeping with her. And as for hating white people, hell, there are lots of black people who harbor resentments against the dominant white culture, and I'm going to give them a pass. Only two generations ago there were people alive who were once slaves. It's going to be another two or three generations before that is a distant memory.

Fred4Pres said...

Joe, I did go to Sarah Vaughn's funeral in Newark. And I was sad she was gone.

And I do not consider Fred a racist. He just likes staying home and spending time with Jeri. Like Uncle Joe on Petticoat Junction.

vnjagvet said...

Ms. Horne could easily have "passed" had she wanted to. She didn't. Rather, she was determined she would succeed as she was. And she did.

As exquisitely beautiful as any other Hollywood star of her era, she held her beauty from her teens to her 80's. She was also a blunt-talking but entertaining talk show guest.

Thankfully, there are the movies, television and records, tapes and CD's to preserve her beauty and her voice.

Paul said...

William said...Producers of that era wanted pretty, white girls with black voices. She was a pretty, colored girl with a white voice.. It was her beauty, not her voice, that made her a star.

I don't know, to me she always looked like a pretty white girl with a white voice. Granted, she self-identified as black, but who would have come to that conclusion by looking at her? I find the whole thing rather surreal.

danielle said...

wow, edutcher -- what an utterly obnoxious and stupid statement.

first of all, where is the proof that she hated her white fans ? why peddle a rumor like that on the day the woman dies ! have you no decency ? *ridiculous*

and secondly, why is it the responsibility of black people to convince white people not to be racist, and to be appreciative of that 'place in history.' the racism of individual and groups are their OWN problem. I applaud trailblazers for their courage and resilience, but lets be clear: trailblazers absolutely ARE NOT indebted to the people whose minds that need to be changed ! Its not SAD that she couldnt see that. Its sad that people like you seem to think black people need to be grateful to other (racist) people for recognizing their talents, and convincing people that racism is wrong.

And how about you stop the ridiculous moralizing about what she should have done and what she should have felt ... I've never read anything suggesting that Lena Horne was anything but lovely, and that she faced levels of racism that I'm sure most of us cant even fathom... but here you are, trying to find fault ! And on the day the woman died !!!! Ridiculous and Stupid. And awful !