Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dorothy Dandridge

Such a sad life for such a strong, beautiful lady battling against so many odds. I've been meaning to post something on Dorothy Dandridge for sometime.

Dorothy Jean Dandridge died alone in her apartment on 8495 Fountain Ave, West Hollywood, on November 8th, 1965 of an overdose of barbituates. There was only $2.14 in her bank account. Her money struggles had forced her to admit her young, brain-damaged daughter into a mental institution. She never did perform at Basin Street East in New York the following day, as planned.

Dorothy was the elder of two sisters who sang and danced in a traveling act before and during the Great Depression with Ruby, their theatrically-inclined divorced mother, before settling in Hollywood in desperate hopes of finding work. Although she was an amazing cabaret performer, she did not like it and suffered from crippling stage fright. As a struggling actress, she befriended others in the same boat such as Ava Gardener and Marilyn Monroe. Her first film part was in a Marx Brothers comedy, but it was unusual to be offered any coveted parts in film as other white actresses were favoured at that time. However, she perservered and became the very first African-American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Actress for her role In Carmen Jones in 1955. She was also nominated for the Best Actress BAFTA award for the same role. Then, in 1959, she was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for her performance in Porgy And Bess.

Twice divorced, dependent on alcohol and taking a cocktail of medication, including antidepressants, Dorothy had suffered a nervous breakdown after discovering her 2 closest confidants had swindled her out of practically all her money.

For her contribution to the Hollywood film industry, Dorothy Dandridge has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6719 Hollywood Boulevard.

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