Dorothy Jean Dandridge, born November 9, 1922 was an African-American night club singer, actress and silver screen siren. In 1954, she made history by being nominated for Best Actress at the 27th Annual Academy Awards for her portrayal as the haughty Carmen Jones. A film version of what was originally an opera, featured an all black cast with Dandridge as the lead, gave way to a unique opportunity for a woman of color's beauty and talent to be illuminated on the big screen. Despite not winning an Oscar, her recognition alone opened the eyes of the studio execs to an untapped source of talent in Hollywood. With more roles being thrown in her direction, the future looked bright for Dandridge when she landed a part in the highly acclaimed film Porgy and Bess (1959) where she played the character of Bess. Sadly, her light was dimmed in the fall of 1965 when she unexpectedly died only hours before she was to leave for a professional engagement in New York. A lot of speculation surrounded the death of the now middle aged beauty. One source deemed it an accidental over dose of anti-depressants while another determined the cause as an embolism that resulted from a fractured foot. Ironically, there was a suicide note found at her home shortly after her passing; however close friends of the star denounce the note stating that it was written months prior during a bout with depression but that she had recently bounced back and was looking forward to many new career opportunities.
by Lisa Mack ~