Dorothy Dandridge Death: Who Was She Married With?

American actress, singer, and dancer Dorothy Jean Dandridge was born on November 9, 1922, and she passed away on September 8, 1965. She is the first African American actress to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her role in Carmen Jones (1954). Dandridge gave vocal performances in places like the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater. She performed as a member of The Wonder Children, subsequently known as The Dandridge Sisters, and had numerous film appearances in her early career, mostly in uncredited roles.

Dorothy Dandridge: Early life

Dandridge was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1922, to entertainers Cyril Dandridge and Ruby Dandridge (née Butler; 1900–1987). (1895–1989). Her father was a Baptist clergyman and cabinetmaker. Immediately before she was born, her parents split up.

Ruby formed The Wonder Children, a song-and-dance performance for her two young daughters, Vivian and Dorothy. Her lover, Geneva Williams, organised the performance. Williams was accused of having a short fuse and punishing the kids harshly. While Ruby worked and performed in Cleveland, the sisters spent five years touring the South of the country practically nonstop and barely attending school.

Dorothy Dandridge Death

The Dandridges’ employment practically disappeared during the Great Depression, as it did for many Chitlin’ Circuit acts. Ruby relocated her family to Hollywood, California, where she was able to secure consistent employment in modest domestic servant roles on radio and in films. Dorothy attended McKinley Junior High School in 1930 after the move. In 1934, The Wonder Children became The Dandridge Sisters. Dandridge and her sister were paired with Etta Jones, a classmate from dance.

Dorothy Dandridge: Career

Dandridge’s first credited film role was in Four Shall Die (1940). Her rejection of stereotypical black roles limited her options for film roles. She had small roles in Lady from Louisiana with John Wayne and Sundown with Gene Tierney. Dandridge appeared as part of a Specialty Number, “Chattanooga Choo Choo” in the hit 1941 musical Sun Valley Serenade. Dandridge began her career in 1943 as a band singer, appearing in films with Count Basie and Louis Armstrong.

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In 1951, she played Queen of the Ashuba in Tarzan’s Peril, received attention for wearing what was considered “provocatively revealing” clothing. That same year, she had a supporting role in The Harlem Globetrotters. She played Jane Richards in Bright Road, opposite Harry Belafonte, in which she expressed herself as an “emotional actress”. 20th Century Fox wanted an all-black musical film adaptation of Oscar Hammerstein II’s 1943 Broadway musical Carmen Jones. Dorothy Dandridge was originally considered for the role of Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen updated to a World War II-era African-American setting.

She outrageously worked on and created a look with the aid of Max Factor make-up artists to obtain the appearance and character of the title role Carmen. Her voice was dubbed by Marilyn Horne for the film, which opened to favorable reviews and strong box-office returns in 1954. Carmen Jones became a worldwide success, eventually earning over $10 million at the box office and becoming one of the year’s highest-earning films. Dandridge was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, becoming the first African American nominated for a leading role. She was the first black performer to open at the Empire Room at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

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Dorothy Dandridge: Death

Over September 8, 1965, Dandridge spoke on the phone with Geraldine “Geri” Branton, a friend and former sister-in-law. The following day, Dandridge was supposed to take a plane to New York to get ready for her Basin Street East nightclub engagement. In the course of the lengthy discussion, Dandridge, according to Branton, switched from expressing optimism for the future to singing Barbra Streisand’s “People” in its entirety, to saying, just before hanging up on her, this mysterious phrase: “Whatever happens, I know you will understand.

Several hours later, Dandridge’s manager Earl Mills discovered her in her apartment, naked and unconscious. An accidental overdose of the antidepressant imipramine was found to be the cause of death, according to a Los Angeles pathology lab. She had had a right foot fracture five days prior, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, which determined that her death was caused by a fat embolism.

Dandridge was cremated, and her remains were buried in the Freedom Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. A private funeral service was performed at the Little Chapel of the Flowers on September 12, 1965.

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Dorothy Dandridge: Personal Life

As a Democrat, Dandridge backed Adlai Stevenson’s candidacy in the 1952 presidential contest.

Due to the bigotry she experienced in the industry, Dandridge grew interested in activism and joined the National Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Dorothy Dandridge Death

Dorothy Dandridge married Harold Nicholas, a dancer and entertainer, in 1942. The couple had an unhappy marriage that deteriorated because of Nicholas’ womanizing and inattentiveness. She gave birth to her only child, Harolyn Suzanne Nicholas, on September 2, 1943, after he abandoned her while she was in labor. Harolyn’s delayed birth required the use of forceps and may have resulted in brain damage that left her requiring lifelong constant care. While filming Carmen Jones (1954), she began an affair with director Otto Preminger that lasted four years. She became pregnant by him in 1955, but was forced to have an abortion by the studio.

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