The American singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist, Lena Horne was involved with the Civil Rights Movement and in 1941, she sang at Café Society and during World War II, she refused to perform for segregated audiences.
She also was registered Democrat and in 1963, she visited John F. Kennedy at The White House along with Sidney Saloman, John Bailey, Vice Chairman of the DNC Margaret B. Price, Richard Adler, etc. before two days to his assassination. She was born on 30th June in 1917 in New York City, the U.S.
Her parents were Edwin Fletcher Horne Jr. and Edna Louise Scotton. She was of European, African, and Native American descent. From 1987-1929, she lived with her uncle at Fort Valley Junior Industrial Institute and at the age of 12, she along with her mother returned to New York City.
In 1933, she joined the chorus line of the Cotton Club and in 1934, she had a featured role in the Cotton Club Parade. She made her on-screen debut in 1935 with the musical short, Can Calloway’s Jitterburg Party as a dancer. In the popular jazz series, The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street, she replaced Dinah Shore as the featured vocalist.
She also had two low-budget films, The Duke is Tops and Boogie Woogie Dream. In 1942, she signed with MGM and made her debut with the company in Panama Hattie. From the late 1950s to 1960s, she was a staple of television variety shows and appeared in Kraft Music Hall, The Dean Martin Show, The Bell Telephone Hour, The Ed Sullivan Show, etc.
In 1969, she left Hollywood and established herself as one of the premier nightclub performers of the post-war era and also released well-received record albums. In 1980, she announced her retirement but the following year, she starred in a one-woman show, Lena Horst: The Lady and Her Music.
The show ran for more than 300 performances on Broadway. After that, she toured the country in the show and she disappeared from the public eye in 2000. From 1937-1944, she was married to Louis Jordan Jones with whom she had two children. Later in 1947, she married Lennie Hayton but in the early 1960s, they got separated but never divorced.
In 1971, Hayton died. On 9th May 2010, she died of congestive heart failure. She has won the Lifetime Achievement Award, NAACP Image Award, Tony Award, and many others.