Most of you are probably saying, who? Others, like myself, are mesmerized by this talented woman, her strength, her courage to be herself without compromise, a woman who knew she was destined for greatness!
So what was holding her back?
BORN IN THE WRONG ERA!
For those of you who do know her and for those who don't, I'll try to keep it short-winded....HA HA HA HA!
Dorothy was born in 1922 and died in 1965, a year after I was born. My fascination in movies mostly relate to the "old Hollywood" rather than the new. Maybe it's my age, maybe I was just exposed by mom to great movies!
I remember the first time I saw mom watching this movie when I was young. It was called "Carmen Jones." It was a very musical movie. I found myself watching it and asking a million questions about who all the people are. I had never heard of them, except Harry Belafonte. That name I knew! But who was this lady singing? Mom didn't know her either, Dorothy something or other.
It wasn't until I was an adult and heard that Halle Berry was going to be starring in an HBO Original Movie called, "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge."
It still didn't really register with me who she was, until I saw the movie!
After watching the movie like a bajillion times, I decided to read the book as well. I must say, the book is much more detailed and better than the movie; though the movie is also A MUST SEE!
Dorothy was absolutely born in the wrong era, all because of the color of her skin! The heartache of her lesbian mother, her father who left when she was a child, the men, her first husband (a black man) who treated her like a piece of meat, her mentally challenged child, the movie roles she fought so hard to get, the night club acts where she had to enter through the back door and exit through the back door, a woman who stuck her toe in the pool at a Las Vegas hotel and when a white person saw it, the pool was immediately drained.
She really only had two people in her life she could trust, her sister, Viv, and her manager, Earl. They loved her unconditionally. One of the biggest Hollywood producers, Otto Preminger, was so in love with her, though would not leave his wife for her and would never be seen with her in public. The humiliation she must have went through knowing that for a white man she was good enough to sleep with, just not to be seen with. Later, she met and married her second husband (a white man) who abused her and robbed her blind, leaving her virtually penniless and having to move her child to a public institution.
YET, she is the first African American woman to ever be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a movie. ALSO, the first African American woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe award!
She didn't win either award...
When "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" came out on HBO, starring Halle Berry, it was absolutely heart-breaking to know Hollywood "then" and Hollywood "now."
I would like to think her life wouldn't have ended so tragically in today's Hollywood, maybe it would have been different for her. Maybe not, I don't know. We'll never know. I do know she took the pills to take away the emotional pain, not physical pain.
Though Earl, her manager, who was working feverishly on reviving her career and was booking her on tours again, found Dorothy dead in her bathroom floor from an overdose.
Dorothy Dandridge Dead
November 9, 1922 - September 8, 1965
I found myself a few years ago engaged in an E-bay auction for an original picture signed by Dorothy. There aren't many out there! I am NOT going to tell you what I paid for this because I've managed to keep that from hubby this long and I hid the credit card..HEE HEE HEE! To say I paid a substantial, ridiculous amount of money on this is an understatement; however there are some things worth fighting for! Dorothy was worth my effort and my money! This hangs in my home office!
"Prejudice is such a waste. It makes you logy and half-alive. It gives you nothing. It takes away." ~ Dorothy Dandridge
"If I were white, I could capture the world." ~ Dorothy Dandridge
HALLE ACCEPTS THE AWARD THAT DOROTHY WAS SO WORTHY!