Dorothy Dandridge ~ The Delicate Beauty

Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge was born on November 9, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents separated before she was born and Dorothy was raised by her mother Ruby, an aspiring entertainer. Ruby encouraged Dorothy and her sister Vivian to go into show business. They created a song and dance act and performed at the Apollo Theatre and the Cotton Club. Dorothy made her film debut in the 1935 comedy Teacher's Beau. She got small parts in dozens of films including Four Shall Die and Sundown. In 1942 Dorothy married dancer Harold Nicholas. They had one daughter, Harolyn Susanne, who was born brain damaged. By the early 1950s Dorothy's marriage was over and she was touring the country with her nightclub act. Her acting career finally took off when she was cast in the drama Carmen Jones. The movie was a hit and she was nominated for an Academy Award. Dorothy began an affair with married director Otto Preminger. When she became pregnant he forced her to have an abortion.

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After four tumultuous years she ended the relationship because he refused to leave his wife. In 1959 she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in the musical Porgy and Bess. Dorothy was now a star and she appeared on the cover of Life magazine and People Today. Unfortunately there weren't many leading roles for black actresses and her movie career stalled. She married businessman Jack Denison and went back to singing in nightclubs. Dorothy divorced Jack in 1962 after discovering he had spent all of her money. Then Dorothy suffered a complete nervous breakdown. When she recovered she started planning her comeback. On September 8, 1965 Dorothy was found dead in her apartment. She was only forty-two years old. Although it was initially reported that she died of a drug overdose the coroner later concluded that she had died from a rare embolism. Dorothy was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

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