Black History Month

This Week is about movies. We will take a quick glance at what some amazing African American actors have done. Today meet Dorothy Dandridge.

Dorothy Dandridge was an entertainer and actress that starred on stage and screen in the late 1940s and 1950s. She performed at the Cotton Club at the age of 16 with her sisters as a trio. She starred in a series of low budget films in the early 1940s like Drums in the Congo and The Hit Parade of 1943.

Carmen Jones, a film based off the opera Carmen, made her a star and earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. It was the first time an African American had been nominated for a leading actor role. She was also one of the first actresses to play roles where there were interracial relationships.

She struggled for good acting parts, even going to Europe in hopes of landing better roles. She did not find much.

Her last important movie was Porgy and Bess (1959) with Sidney Poitier, Pearl Bailey and Sammy Davis, Jr. By this time, Dandridge had perfected the role of playing the bad black woman who refused to go right.

In 1965, Dandridge died of an overdose of anti depression pills.

This information is from Donald Bogle’s Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies and Bucks.