Legendary singer Lena Horne dies aged 92

May 10th, 2010 - 3:55 pm ICT by BNO News  

NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) — Legendary singer, dancer and actress Lena Horne, who broke racial barriers when she signed for a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio in the 1940s, died at a New York hospital on Sunday evening. She was 92.

A spokeswoman for NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center confirmed Horne died at the hospital, but was not able to provide further details on the cause or time of her dead.

Horne was the first African-American to sign a long-term movie contract with a major Hollywood studio. She signed on for a contract with MGM in 1942, breaking a barrier once thought impossible to reach for African-Americans.

Some believe she could have been a major movie star, if she had been allowed to play more serious roles. Horne herself complained she was being used as a ‘window dressing’ in white films and refused studio plans to promote her as a Latin American - as she was light-skinned.

She played in musicals such as “Thousands Cheer” in 1943, “Broadway Rhythm” in 1944, “Two Girls and a Sailor” in 1944, “Ziegfeld Follies” in 1946, and “Words and Music” in 1948. Her roles were so that they could be easily edited out for play in southern theaters.

Horne further won a special Tony Award for her 1981 Broadway show, “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music” and became especially known for her song “Stormy Weather.”

She was 92.

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