|Birthname||Lena Mary Calhoun Horne|
|born on||30 June 1917 at 23:45 (= 11:45 PM )|
|Place||Brooklyn (Kings County), New York, 40n38, 73w56|
|Timezone||EST h5w (is standard time)|
|Astrology data||08°46' 20°10 Asc. 10°21'|
American singer and actress with depth and character, as well as classic beauty and talent. Her great-grandparents had been a slave and white owner; being light-skinned, she was one of the first blacks in film to win serious widespread respect and popularity.
As a chorus girl at age 16, she sang with bands and did club dates, moving to Hollywood in 1941 and into films the following year. At that time, there were only two types of roles available: all-black movies, or strictly singing parts that were edited out when the film was shown in the South. Her first dramatic role in an integrated film was not until 1969 when she appeared in "Death of A Gunfighter," but by then, she was a top draw in glamorous Las Vegas shows. Horne also built up credits in TV guest shots as well as specials.
Her mother, Edna, was an actress and her father a hotel operator. When Lena was three, they divorced. For years thereafter, as her parents focused on their own lives, the child was sent to various families and friends homes. One caregiver in Miami beat her, while a mentally unstable housekeeper in Atlanta cut switches from trees and twice-weekly would swat the naked, wet child after her bath. Horne occasionally returned to the only refuge she knew, her grandparents' home. It was her well-educated grandmother, an early civil rights activist, who became her primary influence. However it was her mother who projected her frustrated show business ambitions onto her daughter, taking her out of school to become a member of the chorus line at the Cotton Club in Harlem where her $25/week salary earned her the title of breadwinner in her family. Her mother's controlling influence dictated Lena's attempt to escape by "running away and getting married" at the age of 19 to Louis Jones, 28 years older, extremely controlling, and a friend of her dad's. A second husband later died of heart failure. Moving to Pittsburgh, Horne's first marriage lasted four years and gave her two kids, Gail and Teddy. Teddy stayed with his father, and Horne took Gail to New York City in 1940.
In New York, Horne gained immediate acclaim at an integrated club, Café Society, recorded with bandleader Artie Shaw, and was exposed to politics and racist struggles with the help of actor-singer Paul Robeson, and learned singing styles from Billie Holiday and Teddy Wilson. Horne took her act to Los Angeles in the early '40s and was offered a contract by Louis B. Mayer. She established herself in two all-black 1943 musicals: "Stormy Weather", in which she sang the title song, and "Cabin in the Sky". She was profiled simultaneously in the magazines Time, Life and Newsweek and became a wartime pin-up for both black and white soldiers.
When she married Lennie Hayton, an MGM white arranger and composer in December 1947, blacks and whites reacted with equal virulence, to her dismay. Horne was blacklisted and shut out of Hollywood in the early '50s because of her association with her left-leaning friend, Paul Robeson. Forced to perform abroad for seven years, she returned to American night clubs in the late 50's with a more mature sexy toughness that made her a Las Vegas sensation. Comedian Alan King, who opened the show for her, described Lena as "rebellious with sassiness."
One of her first LP records with RCA Victor in the 1950's, "Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria", became the largest-selling album by a female performer in RCA's history. She appeared as a frequent guest with television hosts Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen and Perry Como, and starred in musical and television specials with Judy Garland, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.
Strongly affected by events of the 1960's civil rights movement, Horne was not immune to the segregation and bigotry of the day and participated actively in the marches, performing in rallies and pressing for federal action.
In the early 1970's , Horne was devastated by the loss of Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington's arranger-composer and the man she considered her 'soul mate' from 1967, and then, all within an 18-month period, the deaths of her husband, her son Teddy from kidney disease, and her dad. She retreated from the public eye until Alan King encouraged her back onto Broadway's stage in 1981 with "Lena: The Lady and Her Music." The one-woman show, which won a Tony award, marked the arrival of another level of mature acclaim for Horne. One of the achievements about which Horne is the proudest is an honorary doctorate received from Howard University. Deemed a "rare, inspiring woman," at the age of 80, Horne was enjoying her New York apartment, five grandchildren, favorite lamb chops and red wine.
Right around the same time, in the early '90s, Horne underwent pacemaker surgery. At first she was hesitant, "I hated the idea of something...not me being inside me." However, she came to the realization that the pacemaker would allow her to work and went ahead with the operation. She died in Manhattan on May 9, 2010.
- Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1943 (Musical, "Stormy Weather")
- Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1943 (Musical, "Cabin In the Sky")
- Death of Significant person 1967 (Billy Strayhorn, "soul mate")
- Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1969 (Film, "Death of A Gunfighter")
- Death of Mate 1971 (After long-term relationship)
- Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1981 at 12:00 midnight in New York, NY (Musical, "Lena: The Lady and Her Music")
Bertucelli quotes her for information recorded by her mother
- Traits : Body : Appearance gorgeous (Classic beauty)
- Traits : Body : Race (Black, light skinned)
- Traits : Mind : Education extensive (Honorary doctorate)
- Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Heart (Needed pacemaker)
- Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Surgery (To install pacemaker)
- Family : Childhood : Abuse - Physical/ Verbal (Beat by caregivers as a kid)
- Family : Childhood : Memories Bad (Mother very controlling)
- Family : Childhood : Parents divorced (When she was three)
- Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (24 years)
- Family : Relationship : Mate - Age difference more than 15 yrs (First husband 28 years older)
- Family : Relationship : Mate - Interracial (Second husband white)
- Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (Two)
- Family : Relationship : Widowed
- Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (Two)
- Family : Parenting : Kids -Traumatic event (Son died, kidney disease)
- Lifestyle : Work : Travel for work (Performed abroad for seven years)
- Lifestyle : Work : Work alone/ Singular role (One woman show)
- Lifestyle : Financial : Rags to riches
- Lifestyle : Home : Many moves (Sent to various homes as child)
- Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs
- Vocation : Entertainment : Actor/ Actress
- Vocation : Entertainment : Child performer (Chorus at 16)
- Vocation : Entertainment : TV series/ Soap star (TV Specials, guest shots)
- Vocation : Entertain/Music : Dancer/ Teacher (Secondary)
- Vocation : Entertain/Music : Vocalist/ Pop, Rock, etc.
- Vocation : Politics : Activist/ social (Civil Rights)
- Notable : Awards : Tony (For one woman show)
- Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession
- Notable : Book Collection : Profiles Of Women