“If I were white i could capture the world.”

Dorothy Dandridge

Born on this day in 1922 Dorothy Dandridge was the 1st African American, either sex to be Oscar- nominated for her leading role in Carmen Jones.

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Dandridge started performing at a very young age as part of The Wonder Children, then the Dandridge Sisters. American actress, singer and dancer found the few roles available for black actresses demeaning, besides few small parts such as in Porgy and Bess.  Dandridge accepted a role that she would once have refused. The production was saturated with stereotyped characters her acceptance for the role angered the African-American community, who thought the story was degrading. She sparked controversy with her role as a local Indian shop clerk in “Island in the Sun” where she is having an interracial love affair with a white man, played by John Justin. “Tamango” sparked controversy as well as she almost withdrew from the movie because of wardrobe and script issues, and as she had an on-screen kiss with with a white actor. The film was released in 1959 in New York City, but didn’t receive nationwide distribution until 1962.

Facts

In 1951, She became the first black performer to entertain in the dining room of St. Louis’ Chase Hotel .

In November 1954, she became the first African American ever featured on the cover of Life magazine

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in 1955, she became the first black woman to participate in the televised broadcast presenting the Oscar for film editing at the 27th annual Academy Awards.

Unfortunately, she was addicted to pills and alcohol and went bankrupt. She died in 1965 at the age of 42.

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Halle Berry portrayed Dandridge in the HBO biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. In 2002 Berry, won the best actress Oscar. She did not forget to pay homage to Dandridge “so much bigger than me”: “This moment,” she said, “is … for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened,” a door Dandridge had peeked through a half-century before.

3 comments

  1. Like all the genius she died young, because she is a genius . She opened the door for all the black actors and be the first to do à lot of thing in the movie industry. Viola Davis said black ator don’t miss talent but oportunity to show off they talent as she said ” if i was white i could capture the world” ans the both are so right. Dorothy merit a particular day in her honor.

    Liked by 1 person

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