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Dorothy Dandridge

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Dorothy Dandridge Biography and Filmography
Dorothy Dandridge
Birthday: November 9, 1922
Birth Place: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Height: 5' 5"
Below is a complete filmography (list of movies he's appeared in)
for Dorothy Dandridge.
If you have any corrections or additions, please email us.
We'd also be interested in any trivia or other information you have.
African American actress, singer, dancer Dorothy Dandridge, the daughter of stage and screen actress Ruby Dandridge, began performing professionally in the song-and-dance duo "The Wonder Children" with her sister Vivian at age four; they toured parts of the South, performing at churches, schools, and social gatherings. In the 1930s her family relocated to Los Angeles, and she and her sister appeared briefly in the Marx brothers comedy A Day at the Races (1937). In their teens she and her sister enlisted a third singer and formed a new group, the Dandridge Sisters. They worked with the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra and Cab Calloway, appeared at the Cotton Club, and turned up with Louis Armstrong and Maxine Sullivan in the film Going Places (1939). Dandridge started performing solo in the early '40s, appearing in a string of musical shorts made in 1941 and 1942; she also performed in several features in the same years, including Sun Valley Serenade (1942), during the production of which she met her first husband, the dancer Harold Nicholas. After her marriage she put her career on hold for a while, but the birth of a severely brain-damaged daughter strained her marriage and it soon ended in divorce, following which she put most of her energy into her career. She became popular and famous as a sultry nightclub entertainer, then began to make her mark in movies with her notable appearance in Tarzan's Peril (1951), in which she played a sexy African princess. For her work in Otto Preminger's Carmen Jones (1954) she received a "Best Actress" Oscar nomination, becoming the first black women to do so. Three years went by before her next role, in Island in the Sun (1957), in which she again made history by being the first black actress cast romantically with a white actor in a film. For her work in Preminger's Porgy and Bess (1959) she won the Golden Globe Award as "Best Actress in a Musical." After a few more years she found it difficult to get lead roles in films, and went back to nightclubs. In 1965 she signed a new film contract, but her rebounding luck was short-lived — she was found dead from an overdose of anti-depressants.
The Murder Men (1961)
Moment of Danger (1960)
Porgy and Bess (1959)
[ Nichelle Nichols ][ Pearl Bailey ]
The Decks Ran Red (1958)
Tamango (1958)
The Happy Road (1957)
[ Brigitte Fossey ]
Island in the Sun (1957)
[ Joan Collins ][ Joan Fontaine ]
Carmen Jones (1954)
[ Pearl Bailey ]
Bright Road (1953)
The Harlem Globetrotters (1951)
Tarzan's Peril (1951)
Ebony Parade (1947)
Atlantic City (1944)
[ Eleonor Parker ]
Since You Went Away (1944)
[ Shirley Temple ][ Agnes Moorehead ][ Claudette Colbert ][ Jennifer Jones ][ Hattie McDaniel ]
Happy Go Lucky (1943)
Lucky Jordan (1942)
[ Yvonne De-Carlo ]
Drums of the Congo (1942)
Night in New Orleans (1942)
Ride 'Em Cowboy (1942)
Bahama Passage (1941)
Sundown (1941)
[ Gene Tierney ]
Sun Valley Serenade (1941)
[ Sheila Ryan ]
Lady from Louisiana (1941)
Four Shall Die (1940)
Irene (1940)
[ Billie Burke ]
Going Places (1938)
Snow Gets in Your Eyes (1938)
It Can't Last Forever (1937)
A Day at the Races (1937)
[ Maureen O'Sullivan ]
The Big Broadcast of 1936 (1935)
Teacher's Beau (1935)
  • Daughter of Ruby Dandridge.
  • Sister of Vivian Dandridge.
  • At the time of her death, there was .14 in her bank account.
  • Her daughter was born with a brain injury.
  • Interred at Forest Lawn (Glendale), Glendale, California, USA, in the Freedom Mausoleum, Columbarium of Victory.
  • Madame Sul-Te-Wan was not Dorothy's real life grandmother as is often rumored. In the definitive biography on Dandridge, by Donald Bogle, it is suggested that this rumor started because she played her grandmother in the film Carmen Jones.
  • Referred to by Lena Horne as "...our Marilyn Monroe".
  • Dated Rat Packer and actor Peter Lawford, who appeared at her funeral.
  • Dated director Otto Preminger.
  • Now thought to have suffered from manic depression.
  • She was pursued for the role of Tuptim in "The King & I", but turned it down on the advice of Otto Preminger, who advised her not to accept a role in which she was not the star. Rita Moreno was then cast in the role.
  • First black woman to grace the cover of Life Magazine.
  • In September 1965 the New York Times reported that her death was caused by bone marrow particles from a fractured metatarsal bone in her right foot entered her bloodstream and reached her brain and lungs.
  • Although she was a top-notch nightclub/caberet singer, she despised it.
  • Suffered from near paralyzing stage fright whenever she had to perform.
  • She loved soul food. Her favorite was chitterlings and greens, which she ate only once a week.
  • Her best friend was Geraldine Pate Nicholas Branton, former wife of Fayard Nicholas of the tap dancing duo The Nicholas Brothers.
  • Dated music composer Phil Moore, who was instrumental in launching her career as a nightclub singer in the 1940s.
  • Was considered for the role of Billie Holiday in a movie, however the project didn't materialize in her lifetime. The movie did come to pass, and the role was portrayed by Diana Ross.
  • Is portrayed by Halle Berry in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999) (TV)
  • First African-American actress to be Oscar-nominated for "Best Actress in a Leading Role"
  • She was first choice for the role of Cleopatra but ultimately the role went to Elizabeth Taylor
  • She was the first African-American to be nominated for a "Best Actress" Oscar. Halle Berry, who portrayed Dorothy in Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999) (TV) became the first African-American to win "Best Actress" at the Academy Awards.
  • Was good friends with Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner when they were all young, struggling actresses in Hollywood.

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