Tantalizing Tuesday: Lena Horne

Lena

Don’t be afraid to feel as angry or as loving as you can, because when you feel nothing, it’s just death.
-Lena Horne

Lena Horne was a lady, through and through. She was classy both in the way she carried herself and in her music. Her voice was silky and smooth, like the best Scotch. Here she is singing her trademark song, Stormy Weather in the movie by the same name.

I wonder how far she might have gone if she had been allowed to appear in more movies. According to Ms. Horne, in most of her films, she was given only singing parts that were not pertinent to the plot, then they would cut out her scenes in some of the southern states.

In addition, like many performers in the 1940’s and ’50’s, Lena was blacklisted and couldn’t work in films or television for seven years after her time at MGM was over in 1950.* She said that was because of her open criticism of the treatment of black soldiers she observed when she was on the USO circuit. Nonetheless, she found some popularity on television and in night clubs. What a classy dame. Seems nothing could completely stop her, not even prejudice.

The first time I saw Lena Horne on the screen, she was in her late 60’s when she was cast as Glinda, the good witch in the film version of ‘The Wiz’. I was enthralled, and thereafter sought out her younger recordings. Despite having little success in Hollywood, she had a long singing career, recording well into the 1990’s.

Here she is singing with Judy Garland on the Judy Garland Show. There was something very cool and magical about Glinda and Dorothy singing together.

*http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/10/arts/music/10horne.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

2 thoughts on “Tantalizing Tuesday: Lena Horne

  1. I don’t remember her in The Wiz, but I think I’ve only seen it twice in my life so far, so that’s probably why. Judy and Lena singing together is awesome!! I do love those old clips from the Judy Garland Show. I’ve never seen any of them until I found them on You Tube. Their voices blend well, they both must have had a large set of lungs, to sing that loud! Oh to sing like that!!! 😀

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