May 11, 2010 |
Toward the end of her very full life, Lena Horne suggested to a PBS interviewer that, after decades of struggling to define her image as an artist and a black woman, she finally had seized possession of her identity. "I don't have to be a symbol to anybody," said Horne, who died Sunday night in a New York hospital at the age of 92. "I no longer have to be a 'credit.' " Americans born before 1960 will recognize Horne's fragmented reference to a phrase that, mercifully, has now been confined to history's ash heap: "a credit to her (or his)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 10, 2010 |
"Stormy Weather" was Lena Horne's signature song as well as a chillingly apt metaphor for her career. Long celebrated for her striking beauty and silky voice, she overcame profound racism on her way to becoming one of the best-known African American performers in the country. At MGM, she had a seven-year contract in the 1940s when no other African American had such long-term deals. But her movie scenes were filmed so they could be easily excised for release in the Jim Crow South.
July 6, 2009 |
According to James Gavin's new biography, "Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne," the legendary singer-actress was never comfortable being an icon. "As I say in the introduction of my book, icons are not allowed to be human beings," explains Gavin, a lifelong fan who interviewed Horne in 1994. "Once you step up on that pedestal . . . and everyone is scrutinizing your every move -- how do you function as a human being? You have to cover up mistakes you made."
February 2, 2009 |
"Stormy Weather," Lena Horne's signature song, is now the title of a new musical biography recapping her bluesy struggle to stardom and the subsequent heartaches that released her anger and ripened her artistry. It may not have been raining all the time, but the downpours were fairly routine for the woman dubbed "the Bronze Venus," a moniker from an early film role that hints at the racial hurdles she faced in her trailblazing career. The show, which had its West Coast premiere Friday at Pasadena Playhouse, stars Leslie Uggams as a jazzy older Lena and Nikki Crawford as the shy and vulnerable singer in her younger years.
January 25, 2009 |
Leslie Uggams and Lena Horne have crossed paths only a few times. But Uggams feels that the force and power of the iconic singer have always been a part of her. "Lena was a goddess in my house -- my mother played her records all the time, and I was always moved by how beautiful and classy she was," says Uggams. "When I was doing my nightclub act at the Coconut Grove in 1965, she pinned me as a Delta -- we both belong to Delta Sigma Theta. I've always felt like she's been so close to me."
February 25, 2004 |
Janet Jackson has been left out in the rain after "Stormy Weather" singer Lena Horne balked at having the younger star play her in a planned television movie. The 86-year-old Horne reportedly is angry about Jackson's breast-baring stunt at the Super Bowl and pressured ABC to drop Jackson from the project, the trade newspaper Variety reported Tuesday.