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Lena Horne Dead at 92

Lena Horne Dead at 92


Lena Horne, the singer and actress who changed the way Hollywood presented African-American women, died Sunday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She was 92 years old.

The Washington Post's obituary recounts the Brooklyn, N.Y., native's barrier-breaking, decades-long entertainment career that began in 1942.

"Ms. Horne's reputation in Hollywood rested on a handful of musical films. Among the best were two all-black musicals from 1943: Cabin in the Sky, as a small-town temptress who pursues Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson; and Stormy Weather, in which she played a career-obsessed singer opposite Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.

"In other films, she shared billing with white entertainers such as Gene Kelly, Lucille Ball, Mickey Rooney and Red Skelton but was segregated onscreen so producers could clip out her singing when the movies ran in the South.

"'Mississippi wanted its movies without me,'" she told The New York Times in 1957. 'So no one bothered to put me in a movie where I talked to anybody, where some thread of the story might be broken if I were cut.'

"In Hollywood, she received previously unheard-of star treatment for a black actor. Metro Goldwyn Mayer studios featured Ms. Horne in movies and advertisements as glamorously as white beauties including Hedy Lamarr, Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable."

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