Monday, May 10, 2010

Lena Horne, 1917-2010

From left: Ethel Waters, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, and Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky (1943)

The death has been announced of singer/actress Lena Horne. Horne started out on Broadway in the late 1930s, which earned her a chance to make musicals at MGM in the 1940s. Horne refused to play the black stereotypes of the time, and that sadly meant that her film opportunities were limited, often to just a musical number or two in some of the great MGM musicals -- numbers that weren't critical to the plot and which could be easily snipped for the markets in the South, where white movie goers might not want to see a black person in such a role.

One of the few really good opportunities Horne got in those days was as the Devil's temptress to Eddie "Rochester" Anderson in Cabin in the Sky, a role in which Horne shines.

Lena Horne was 92.

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