LENA HORNE BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY:
Lena Calhoun Horne was born June 30th, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York, USA to Edna and Edwin Horne. As a child, she was often picked on for her light skin but at the young age of 2, she became the "cover girl" for the “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People”. Her parents marriage soon fell into divorce and her mother left Lena and her sister in the care of their grandparents while Edna toured with the African Theater Troup.
Horne appeared onstage in Harlem when she was only 14 years old, and by age 16 she left school and was singing in the famous Cotton Club helping to financially support her ailing mother.
In 1935 she joined the Noble Sissle orchestra. She was hired to sing for Charlie Barnet's orchestra in the early 1940's and it was there she was discovered by producer John Hammond and Horne was performing in a solo show at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Horne moved to Los Angeles in 1942. She began to work in the film industry with appearances in, "Cabin in the Sky" (1943), "Meet Me in Las Vegas" (1956), and "The Wiz" (1978). Horne was smooth singer of bluesy ballads and was best known as singer of the jazz standard, "Stormy Weather" (1943).
Horne was a very charismatic entertainer and was one of the most popular singers of her time. One of her albums, Lena Horne at the Waldorf-Astoria (1957), was a long-time best-seller, and her first featured performance on Broadway in the musical "Jamaica"(1957), won her a New York Drama Critics' Poll Award in 1958. Her popularity gained her some of the best pay in Hollywood including $1500 for a radio appearance and over $6000 for nightclub appearances.
During the 1960s, Horne became a leading voice in civil rights marches and protests. She was mostly known as an entertainer, but being involved in political organizations was important to her. She continued to act in Hollywood, however, her main attraction was singing.
Horne's one-woman show, Lena Horne: "The Lady and Her Music" (1981), earned her many awards, including a Drama Critics' Circle Award and a special achievement Tony Award. In 1984 Horne received a Kennedy Center honor for lifetime contribution to the arts, and in 1989 a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement.
Horne's active career spanned six decades. Horne was married from 1937 to 1944 to Louis J. Jones and they had two children together. Three years later in 1947 she married Lennie Hayton, who was a white man and also her musical director. The two married in France and kept the marriage secret for several years. They remained married until her death at the age of 92, on May 9, 2010 in New York City.
1978 The Wiz
1969 Death of a Gunfighter
1956 Meet Me in Las Vegas
1948 Words and Music Purchase Info
1946 Mantan Messes Up
1946 Ziegfeld Follies
1946 Till the Clouds Roll By
1945 Harlem Hotshots
1944 Broadway Rhythm
1943 Stormy Weather
1943 Cabin in the Sky
1943 Swing Fever
1942 Panama Hattie
1938 The Duke is Tops