Monday, May 10, 2010

US jazz singer and actress Lena Horne dies in New York

Legendary US jazz singer and actress Lena Horne, who broke down barriers for black performers in the 1940s and later dedicated herself to the civil rights movement, has died at the age of 92.

The New York Times reported the death occurred late on Sunday at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and was announced by her son-in-law, Kevin Buckley.
Horne rose to fame in the mid 1940s, with musicals that included Thousands Cheer (1943), Broadway Rhythm (1944), Two Girls and a Sailor (1944), Ziegfeld Follies (1946), and Words and Music (1948).
A sultry beauty with a silky voice, her performance in several Hollywood movies however was filmed in ways so that editors could cut her out when the movie was shown in the racially segregated southern United States.
At the peak of her career Horne performed in the top US night clubs and cabarets, singing and appearing in shows with other prominent performers such as Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra.
Horne, however, was clear about the secret of her success. "I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept," Horne once said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"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."
Horne is survived by her daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, according to the report. Her husband died in 1971 and her son died of kidney failure the same year.