Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Soul Cinema Star of the Month

Dorothy Dandridge

was born on November 9, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio. Her mother, Ruby Dandridge, was also an actress and encouraged Dorothy and her sister, Vivian, into show business. The sisters would later join up with a young singer named, Etta James and form the singing trio, Dandridge Sisters. Soon after she left high school, she appeared in small roles, such as the 1942 film, Drums of the Congo. In 1945. she would marry Harold Nicholas of the tap dancing sensation, The Nicholas Brothers. They were married for six years and had one child, a daughter, named Harolyn, who was born with severe brain damage. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1951.

Dorothy Dandridge found success as a solo act in which she performed in such venues as the Mocombo Club in Hollywood with the Desi Arnez band. She performed all over the world and became an international star. Her first starring role was the 1953 film, Bright Road, where she played opposite Harry Belafonte. However, she is most noted for her outstanding performances in the 1954 film opera, Carmen Jones, directed by Otto Preminger and the 1959 film, Porgy and Bess, where she co-starred with Sydney Poitier.

Unfortunately, her career would suffer the consequences of racism in Hollywood. Many in the film industry disapproved of her interracial affair with Otto Preminger and because there were not many suitable roles for the actress because of her fair skin, she was forced to appear in less appreciated films, such as, Island in the Sun and Tamango. Her personal life suffered as well. Her second marriage in 1959 to Jack Denison left her practically penniless after she invested most of her savings into his failing restaurant. He left her soon after. Sadly, these unfortunate events forced her to take her daughter, Harolyn, out of private care and place her in a state mental institution and later contributed to her own mental break down. On September 8, 1965 she was found dead in her Hollywood home. There are many questions surrounding the details of her supposed suicide.

No comments:

Post a Comment