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Dorothy Dandridge

@ National Portrait Gallery


A talented singer and actress with beauty to match, Dorothy Dandridge possessed all the attributes of a star. Teamed with her sister, she made her stage debut as a child and later performed with the popular singing trio known as the Dandridge Sisters. In the 1940s she launched her solo career as a nightclub entertainer and began pursuing work in motion pictures. After appearances in several minor films, Dandridge scored a triumph when she was cast as the title character in Carmen Jones (1954). Critically acclaimed for her performance, Dandridge became the first black performer in history to be nominated for an Academy Award in a leading role. Despite this stellar beginning, Dandridge spent the remainder of her career trying to overcome the entrenched racial bias that doomed her to secondary roles rather than showcasing her ability as a dramatic actress.
Gelatin Silver Print
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
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Record Contributed By

National Portrait Gallery

Record Harvested From

Smithsonian Institution