Monday, May 10, 2010

“Don’t know why/There’s no sun up in the sky…”

NEW YORK (AP) — Lena Horne, the enchanting jazz singer and actress who reviled the bigotry that allowed her to entertain white audiences but not socialize with them, slowing her rise to Broadway superstardom, has died. She was 92.

Horne died Sunday at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, according to hospital spokeswoman Gloria Chin. Chin would not release any other details.

Horne, whose striking beauty and magnetic sex appeal often overshadowed her sultry voice, was remarkably candid about the underlying reason for her success.

"I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept," she once said. "I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked."

Some days it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. I’ve got a full schedule today but I’m going to do my darndest to get in a showing of Cabin in the Sky (1943) in the interim—it’s my favorite of her films.

R.I.P, Miss Lena…you are simply irreplaceable.

Tributes to this amazing talent can be found at newsfromme, The Horn Section, Motion Picture Gems, Edward Copeland on Film, The Land of Whatever, Self-Styled Siren, broadcastellan and my friend Laura’s Oh Crap, I Have a Crush on Sarah Palin.

Update: Turner Classic Movies will pay its respects to the divine Miss Horne on Friday, May 21st with a short festival of her films beginning at 8:00pm with The Duke Is Tops (1938; aka The Bronze Venus). My favorite Horne film, Cabin in the Sky (1943), follows at 9:30 and then Panama Hattie (1942) at 11:15pm. Rounding out the tribute will be The Fallen Sparrow (1943) at 12:45am—Horne was a huge fan of John Garfield, and this crackerjack WW2 thriller co-starring TDOY fave Maureen O’Hara was one of her favorites (proving that not only was Horne an incomparable talent—she had damn good taste in movies).

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Jeff Overturf said...

Goodbye'll be missed.

Oh Crap said...

I can't wait for David E's comments on Lena. We were talking about Gavin's then-forthcoming new biography which is supposed to be a real tell-all.

Too many biographies these days, and me with no $ to buy. Nina Simone and Lena have been on my top 5 list.