Muses

Lena Horne (1917 - 2010)

The African American singer and actress first joined the chorus line of New York's 'Cotton Club', in 1933 before touring with 'Noble Sissle's Orchestra'. Returning to New York, in 1940, she became NBC's featured vocalist in its jazz series, 'The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street'. She made her Hollywood début as a nightclub performer at the 'Sunset Strip', in 1942 before signing with MGM and starring in her first films, Panama Hattie and the popular production, Stormy Weather, in 1943, alongside Cab Calloway. Her most notable film was Cabin in the Sky, in 1943, a popular all-black cast musical in which she could show off her talent but not her looks even though she was a stunningly beautiful woman: segregation did not allow black women to be seductive. During the 1950s, the actress grew disenchanted with Hollywood's stereotyped parts and returned to nightclub performance and appeared on highly successful TV variety shows. She performed on stage until the 1990s, earning major success with her one-woman Broadway show, Lena Horne: The Lady and her Music. She was her whole life through, involved in the Civil Rights movement and had left-leaning political views who led her to be blacklisted from American cinema. Lena Horne was thus considered 'too black' to consolidate her acting career, 'too white' for authentic jazz amateurs and 'too red' for 1950s America...

Tags / Lena Horne - American Actress - Muses - Cinematic Women - 1940s - Jazz - Musical - Black
Portrait of Lena Horne singing on stage in Night Club, Paris, 1947. Photo by Yale Joel
Portrait of Lena Horne singing on stage in Night Club, Paris, 1947. Photo by Yale Joel
Portrait of Lena Horne singing on stage in Night Club, Paris, 1947. Photo by Yale Joel
Portrait of Lena Horne singing on stage in Night Club, Paris, 1947. Photo by Yale Joel
Portrait of Lena Horne singing on stage in Night Club, Paris, 1947. Photo by Yale Joel
Portrait of Lena Horne singing on stage in Night Club, Paris, 1947. Photo by Yale Joel
Portrait  of Lena Horne singing with the band ay The Copacabana night Club, New York, 1948. Photo by  W. Eugene Smith
Portrait of Lena Horne singing with the band ay The Copacabana night Club, New York, 1948. Photo by W. Eugene Smith
Portrait of Lena Horne and Lennie Hayton by Nat Farbman, Paris, 1950
Portrait of Lena Horne and Lennie Hayton by Nat Farbman, Paris, 1950
Portrait of Lena Horne by Yale Joel singing on stage in Night Club, Paris, 1947
Portrait of Lena Horne by Yale Joel singing on stage in Night Club, Paris, 1947
Lena Horne in Broadway Rythm directed by Roy Del Ruth, 1944
Lena Horne in Broadway Rythm directed by Roy Del Ruth, 1944
Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943
Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943
Portrait of Eddie Rochester and Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943
Portrait of Eddie Rochester and Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943
Ethel Waters, Eddie
Ethel Waters, Eddie "Rochester"Anderson, John William Sublett and Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943
Lena Horne and Eddie Rochester in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943
Lena Horne and Eddie Rochester in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943
Bill
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Lena Horne and Cab Calloway in Stormy Weather directed by Andrew L. Stone, 1943
Bill
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Lena Horne in Stormy Weather directed by Andrew L. Stone, 1943
Lena Horne in Jamaica, Broadway, 1957
Lena Horne in Jamaica, Broadway, 1957
Portrait of Lena Horne by by Clarence Sinclair Bull, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne by by Clarence Sinclair Bull, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1950s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1950s
Portrait of Lena Horne, Silky Hendricksands and  The Jungleers 41st Infantry Division, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, Silky Hendricksands and The Jungleers 41st Infantry Division, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne by Fred Ramage, 1947
Portrait of Lena Horne by Fred Ramage, 1947
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1950s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1950s
Portrait of Lena Horne by Hirscheld, 1957
Portrait of Lena Horne by Hirscheld, 1957
Portrait of Lena Horne by George Karger, 1942
Portrait of Lena Horne by George Karger, 1942
Portrait of Lena Horne by Fred Ramage, 1947
Portrait of Lena Horne by Fred Ramage, 1947
Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943
Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne by William P. Gottlieb, New York, 1946
Portrait of Lena Horne by William P. Gottlieb, New York, 1946
Poster of Stormy Weather directed by Andrew L. Stone, 1943
Poster of Stormy Weather directed by Andrew L. Stone, 1943
Lena Horne in Stormy Weather directed by Andrew L. Stone, 1943
Lena Horne in Stormy Weather directed by Andrew L. Stone, 1943
Bill
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Lena Horne in Stormy Weather directed by Andrew L. Stone, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1950s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1950s
Portrait of Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne for Ziegfeld Follies directed by Lemuel Ayers, 1945. Photo by Eric Carpenter
Portrait of Lena Horne for Ziegfeld Follies directed by Lemuel Ayers, 1945. Photo by Eric Carpenter
Portrait of Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne for Ziegfeld Follies directed by Lemuel Ayers, 1945. Photo by Laszlo Willinger
Portrait of Lena Horne for Ziegfeld Follies directed by Lemuel Ayers, 1945. Photo by Laszlo Willinger
Lena Horne in The Duke is tops directed by Wiliam L. Note and Ralph Cooper, 1938
Lena Horne in The Duke is tops directed by Wiliam L. Note and Ralph Cooper, 1938
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne by Teenie Harris, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne by Teenie Harris, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne for Two girls and a sailor directed by Richard Thorpe, 1944
Portrait of Lena Horne for Two girls and a sailor directed by Richard Thorpe, 1944
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1950s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1950s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne for Stormy Weather directed by Andrew L. Stone, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne for Stormy Weather directed by Andrew L. Stone, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne for Two girls and a sailor directed by Richard Thorpe, 1944
Portrait of Lena Horne for Two girls and a sailor directed by Richard Thorpe, 1944
Portrait of Lena Horne for Till The Clouds Roll directed by Richard Whorf, 1946
Portrait of Lena Horne for Till The Clouds Roll directed by Richard Whorf, 1946
Portrait of Lena Horne by Chuck Stewart, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne by Chuck Stewart, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne for Ziegfeld Follies directed by Lemuel Ayers, 1945. Photo by Laszlo Willinger
Portrait of Lena Horne for Ziegfeld Follies directed by Lemuel Ayers, 1945. Photo by Laszlo Willinger
Portrait of Lena Horne by Carl Van Vechten, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne by Carl Van Vechten, 1940s
Lena Horne in Two girls and a sailor directed by Richard Thorpe, 1944
Lena Horne in Two girls and a sailor directed by Richard Thorpe, 1944
Portrait of Lena Horne by H. Leonard, 1948
Portrait of Lena Horne by H. Leonard, 1948
Portrait of Lena Horne by Teenie Harris, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne by Teenie Harris, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne by Richard Avedon, 1958
Portrait of Lena Horne by Richard Avedon, 1958
Portrait of Lena Horne by Richard Avedon for Blackglama, 1969
Portrait of Lena Horne by Richard Avedon for Blackglama, 1969
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1947
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1947
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1943
Portrait of Lena Horne by Philippe Halsmann, 1954
Portrait of Lena Horne by Philippe Halsmann, 1954
Portrait of Lena Horne by Philippe Halsmann, 1954
Portrait of Lena Horne by Philippe Halsmann, 1954
Portrait of Lena Horne by George Hurrell, 1940s
Portrait of Lena Horne by George Hurrell, 1940s
Lena Horne at the recording of Jamaica by Friedman-Abeles, 1957
Lena Horne at the recording of Jamaica by Friedman-Abeles, 1957
Lena Horne at the recording of Jamaica by Friedman-Abeles, 1957
Lena Horne at the recording of Jamaica by Friedman-Abeles, 1957
Robert Lewis and Lena Horne at the recording of Jamaica by Friedman-Abeles, 1957
Robert Lewis and Lena Horne at the recording of Jamaica by Friedman-Abeles, 1957
Robert Lewis and Lena Horne at the recording of Jamaica by Friedman-Abeles, 1957
Robert Lewis and Lena Horne at the recording of Jamaica by Friedman-Abeles, 1957
Lena Horne and his husband Lennie Hayton at the recording of Jamaica by Friedman-Abeles, 1957
Lena Horne and his husband Lennie Hayton at the recording of Jamaica by Friedman-Abeles, 1957
Lena Horne with bass player George Duvivier at the recording of Jamaica by Friedman-Abeles, 1957
Lena Horne with bass player George Duvivier at the recording of Jamaica by Friedman-Abeles, 1957
Portrait of Lena Horne by Philippe Halsmann, 1954
Portrait of Lena Horne by Philippe Halsmann, 1954
Portrait of Lena Horne by Philippe Halsmann, 1954
Portrait of Lena Horne by Philippe Halsmann, 1954
Portrait of Lena Horne by Philippe Halsmann, 1954
Portrait of Lena Horne by Philippe Halsmann, 1954
Portrait of Lena Horne by Wayne Miller, 1947
Portrait of Lena Horne by Wayne Miller, 1947
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940's
Portrait of Lena Horne, 1940's
Lena Horne and Ricardo Montalban in Jamaica, Imperial Theatre, Broadway, 1957
Lena Horne and Ricardo Montalban in Jamaica, Imperial Theatre, Broadway, 1957
Portrait of Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943. Photo by Clarence Sinclair Bull
Portrait of Lena Horne in Cabin in the Sky directed by Vincente Minnelli, 1943. Photo by Clarence Sinclair Bull
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