This Day in Black History: Sept. 8, 1965

Trailblazing actress and singer Dorothy Dandridge died.

Posted: 09/08/2012 01:30 PM EDT
Trailblazing actress and singer Dorothy Dandridge died on Sept. 8, 1965.

A film icon and a pioneer in the movie industry, Dorothy Dandridge was an American actress and singer who was the first African-American film star to be nominated for an Academy Award for best actress. Early in her career, she performed as a singer and dancer in venues like the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater. Dandridge won her first starring role in 1953, playing a teacher in Bright Road, a low-budget film with a nearly all-Black cast released by Metro Goldwyn Mayer. In 1954, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Carmen Jones and in 1959, she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Porgy and Bess. By the early 1960s, she received few job offers and her career began to falter. She appeared mostly in summer stock theater and in nightclubs. She died in Los Angeles on Sept. 8, 1965.

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(Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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