Today, on Edwina LaShan Fashion Blog, we pay tribute to the beautiful, naturally elegant and sophisticated Dorothy Dandridge.
"An American Beauty"... Dorothy Dandridge was best known for her acting skills as the sassy and love striking dangerous "Carmen Jones". Which she was nominated for an academy award for her performance and was the 1st African American actress to be nominated for an Oscar in the “Best Actress in a Leading Role” category.
Lets learn more about Ms.Dandridge.
Dorothy Jean Dandridge was born on November 9, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio. She was also known by her nickname, Dottie Mae. She was married twice!
Her first husband was dancer and entertainer Harold Nicholas who she married September 6, 1942. She gave birth to her only child, Harolyn Suzanne Nicholas, on September 2, 1943. Harolyn was born brain-damaged, and the couple divorced in October 1951.
She later married Jack Denison on June 22, 1959; they divorced in 1962, amid financial setbacks and allegations of domestic violence.
Dorothy Dandridge started off her career as a young girl performing with her two sisters, Vivian and Etta Jones. The trio were apart of a traveling act called the “Wonder Kids”. They traveled the country for five years performing acrobatics, songs and skits.
Later the trio, formed a singing group called the "The Dandridge Sisters". The headlined at the World Famous Cotton Club in Harlem and appeared in movies.
Dorothy was known for her appearances in many films, but the film that blossomed her career was her breakthrough role in the 1954 film "Carmen Jones".
Dorothy portrayed a passionate, sexy creature who lures Joe (Harry Belafonte), a handsome soldier, away from his sweetheart (Olga James). Once she lures him in and causes him to get into a huge fight with his sergeant and leave his regiment. She soon after, grows tired of him, and leaves him for another man. Causing him to seek a tragic revenge!
She also had a very famous role in the movie," Porgy and Bess". In 1959, Columbia Pictures cast her in the lead role of Bess in "Porgy and Bess". She was nominated for a Global Award. Unfortunately, there was controversy strung around this movie, due to the fact that some people thought that it was stereotypical to what African American were portrayed as. Bess was a drug addict, Porgy a crippled drunk.
Before the film, many other African-American actresses and actors looked up to her as someone who had proved that an African-American woman could achieve what a white woman could. But many thought Dandridge "sold out" when she accepted the role of Bess.
If only, back then, they knew what we know today. Films such as "Porgy and Bess" is what the present consumer wants to see nowadays, to see the realistic sides of life. It's not a black or white thing anymore, it's a life thing!!! People of all walks of life, struggle with substance abuse!
Ms. Dandridge also starred in the film "Island in the Sun" in 1957, another film that she is known for in the history books.
After not getting as much work after the role of Bess, her acting career will soon end. At this point Dorothy Dandridge suffered depression due to her career downfall and the fact that her daughter was ill.
After an almost five year hiatus from acting, Dorothy planned to make a career comeback, but tragically passed away before those plans came about. She passed away on September 8, 1965, the cause, was ruled an accidental drug overdose. Dorothy was 42 years old.
Dorothy can be noted for contributions to Fashion for many years of her career! Her signature looks included thigh high splits, and blouses that hung off her shoulders. Dorothy was sophisticated, classy, glamorous and the list could go on...
She was known for wearing tailored pants, clean cut blouses, and trousers.
Her very timeless effort made her style lengendary!
Dorothy also, was known for wearing glamorous jewelry, and only the best of the best. Her looks today, inspired elegant and extravagant attire to take a whole new meaning.
Celebrities that have been inspired by Dorothy Dandridge include, Halle Berry who played her life movie. Beyonce Knowles who brought the Carmen Jones role back to life with a Hip Hop Opera.
Starting in the 1980s, stars such as Cicely Tyson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Halle Berry , Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Kimberly Elise, Loretta Devine, Tasha Smith, and Angela Bassett acknowledged Dandridge's contributions to the role of African Americans in film.
Ladies and Gentlemen Introducing to you ... Ms. Dorothy Dandridge....
We thank you, Dorothy Dandridge, for being a inspiration to fashion and eloquence!
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