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The Life of Lena Horne
"Since nineteen thirty three when her and vicious stage mother put her into the Chorus Line of Harlem's famed cotton in Club Miss Horn has been on stage and in the public eye over the years. Leno's had developed the sultry inevitable. Lena Horne singing style. How for which she is known throughout the World Lena's first big break as a singer came in nineteen forty when she was hired by Charlie Barnet? Who at that? Time was the leader of one of the swing. Era's top big bands after touring with Charlie Barnett's ban. Lena artistically. Psychologically season struck out on our own. Tom I in Manhattan's famed Cafe Society Downtown and then in Hollywood there she was discovered by an MGM talent scout who promptly signed her to a long term contract. Her film debut was far from auspicious considered to lie for Black Parson too dark for for white parts. She was relegated to musical scenes that had no connection with the plot and consequently could easily be cut from reels earmarked for distribution in the south. She did over star in a couple of all black movies. Stormy weather in nineteen forty three and cabinet in the sky. Also in Nineteen forty-three Lena Horne was Hollywood's first bona fide black glamorous Dr the first black actress not cast in stereotypical made the and mammy roles to black across this nation. This may assemble black achievement and pry doing World War Two. She became the pinup thousand thousand. Black G is many of whom went into battling jeeps tanks and aircraft named after her considered by many as the most beautiful woman in the world. Zero Lena takes a beauty in stride. I spoke with Lena on tour with her one woman show and asked her about her status as a living legend laughs. Ask that question yet. And everybody needs. City has asked me I think I think what you really mean is survival aval. I've been around long time. Yeah feels good to live this long. I I hope that My youngest granddaughter. WHO's thirteen will be less blase then my other ones who are eighteen and sixteen Then not interested in traveling abroad. Oh sing the sites that I thought I was working toward taking my children and my grandchildren on the grand tour of Europe and even including Africa Africa now but One of them was born over in Europe and Two of them from New York of been everywhere over there when they were little title and they're not interested and I'm praying that the thirteen year old and still is not too blase to take a trip with me. If I'm just hold out that long I oh. I think women shouldn't really be that insecure. I always was. I wanted to have a better figure. I wanted to be beautiful well. I wanted to sing like aretha Franklin if they had been Retha when I was born I had none of those things and I made it. You know so. I think it's pretty you silly women won't be like me they should be beyond and they shouldn't be in this in our use of Uso Tours and on the cabaret circuit and in her social life. Miss Horn has always been an outspoken advocate of civil rights do on the historic march on Washington in nineteen eighteen sixty three. She addressed a crowd of demonstrators. Miss Horn help breakdown. Jim Crow and entertainment during the nineteen forties and fifties by insisting on contracts ensuring that blacks could not be barred from her performances in white establishments she also refused to entertain white. I troops during World War Two unless black soldiers were omitted. Also I asked if she considered herself a pioneer and about the state of blacks in the entertainment aiming industry and why. It wasn't portent for Lena. Horne to speak up about civil rights. Lena Lena Horne. I spoke up for myself often. The three musicians or the six musicians that toured with the weren't allowed to stay where I could We will all not allowed to go on a swimming pool. Awesome had nothing to do with anything except personal attitudes certain things. I didn't realize that I was speaking for anybody. Nobody else until away in the nineteen late nineteen forties and of course as I said I was raised by very learn Millerton grandmother. I think most of us have grandmother so now passed and She just told me that I was human like everybody else. The communism that hot and the movies suffering and Certainly TV v is doing. What's tried and true over and over again so I would say they. They face certain obstacles not to do rosalie lap and not to do with racism but The first choice That that is not the first to be hired my people but I think that's due to the economy Well for waters May Miss Smith and and the rest of them. That was a great black singers. Called Black Patu blew. My Father Remembers who sang. Who was an opera star and she was named after Adalina passive white thing? Thanks so all those late some groundwork to you. Know I'm a johnny-come-lately Lena. Horne has never been one to avoid controversy in nineteen eighteen fifty. She announced her three year. Old Marriage to Linney Hayden her white musical mentor at MGM Studios and a time. When interracial marriages were still illegal and California? Her marriage proved to be one of the most durable ones in Hollywood it ended in nineteen seventy one would hayden's death also within eighteen months. Lena Sun Teddy Jones died of chronic kidney ailment and her father Ted Horn died. Lena reveals how she was able to cope with such such a devastating loss. I have no idea. It's must be the way everybody else. Does you know I. I wasn't unique. It just happened that There were three people that the dia respected terribly loved a lot but got The man upstairs take scale that you know you grave you agree but you put it to use. It's it's a positive thing sometime and every one of them had been nice to me and taught me a lot so I was not left Like the woman who sometime doesn't want to leave the husband who abuses her because she doesn't know how to work. They taught me how to work and until I was able to survive and take care of my responsibilities in the early nineteen fifties due to McCarthyism her friendship with singer activist. Paul Robinson Kassir to be blacklisted. In television since then Lena has had two specials which she has headlined. Harry and Lena with Harry Belafonte in nineteen seventy and Lena and Tony with Tony Bennett. In nineteen seventy two. She has also made numerous television guest guest appearances including the TV series Sanford and son. I love red. We've known each other long time and I knew him before he was Famous to the world. I knew him when he only had certain places to work and then he was brilliant. Then and I'm just. I was just happy that he had been discovered. You know what I mean. Miss Hololens first Broadway show in which she start was in Jamaica in nineteen nineteen fifty seven. She will probably be most remembered for her role in the Broadway musical. The wiz with her song believe in yourself. I asked Lena Lina if she had received any film offers since the WHIZ. Oh I have I have had offered to be lots of people's mothers and grandmothers. I saw ten is sort of intern. Billy Dee Williams I would like to have sun will lose almost as pretty as my son was but I'm not that access it would be nice but I've been reading some but They're mostly monkey. See Monkey do you now. Now