Reel Gems | Dorothy Dandridge

by Tim Gordon

We remember and celebrate the life and legacy of screen goddess Dorothy Jean Dandridge who was born 93 years ago on November 9, 1922. Despite a brief career, Dandridge blazed an impressive trail that continues to shine to this day.

The former film and theatre actress, singer, and dancer, Dandridge was best known for being the first African-American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the 1954 film Carmen Jones.

Dandridge also performed as a vocalist in venues such as the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater on her way to stardom. During her early career, she performed as a part of The Wonder Children, later The Dandridge Sisters, and appeared in a succession of films, usually in uncredited roles.

In 1959, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Porgy and Bess. Oscar winner Halle Berry brought her life to the big screen in the 1999 HBO biographical film, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.

Dandridge was married and divorced twice, first to dancer Harold Nicholas (the father of her daughter, Harolyn Suzanne) and then to hotel owner Jack Denison. She has been recognized as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Dandridge died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 42.

Check out our tribute to this everlasting beauty and trailblazer, below: