Women’s History Month Spotlight: Dorothy Dandridge

Dorothy Danridge

Dorothy Dandridge was the first African American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress category. Along with being an actress she was also a singer and dancer, all skills that she showed in her movies. Dandridge’s most well-known role was lead in Carmen Jones, a movie based on the infamous opera Carmen. She was nominated for her Oscar because of Carmen Jones. She was later nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in Porgy and Bess. Dandridge was also the first woman of color to be featured on the cover of Life magazine. Dandridge was the vision of beauty, class, grace, and sophistication and while some argue that she was “the Black Marilyn Monroe,” others have outwardly said that Monroe based her persona off of Dandridge, despite them being close friends. Her career was seen as scandalous, in some respects, because in her later films she was depicted in an interracial relationship, which was unheard of in the 40s and 50s. Dandridge was close friends with Hollywood icons like Marilyn Monroe, James, Dean, Ava Gardner, and Marlon Brando. Dandridge never fully received the recognition that she deserved and was often passed over for more “whiter-looking” actresses but she still opened countless doors for black actresses and entertainers today.

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