Dorothy Dandridge

Actor, Singer
This child performer went on to become one of Hollywood's first black female stars. Called a "sepia siren" and the "most beautiful Negro singer since Lena Horne" by LIFE magazine (she was one of the first black female ... Read more »
Born: 11/09/1922 in Cleveland, Ohio, USA


Actor (10)

Moment of Danger 1959 (Movie)

Gianna (Actor)

Tamango 1959 (Movie)

Aiche (Actor)

Porgy and Bess 1958 (Movie)

Bess (Actor)

Island in the Sun 1957 (Movie)

Margot Seaton (Actor)

Carmen Jones 1954 (Movie)

Carmen (Actor)

Bright Road 1953 (Movie)

Jane Richards (Actor)

Hit Parade of 1943 1942 (Movie)

Count Basie Band Singer (Actor)

Lady From Louisiana 1940 (Movie)


Sun Valley Serenade 1940 (Movie)

Specialty (Actor)

Light's Diamond Jubilee (TV Show)



This child performer went on to become one of Hollywood's first black female stars. Called a "sepia siren" and the "most beautiful Negro singer since Lena Horne" by LIFE magazine (she was one of the first black female stars to appear on the magazine's cover), the tall, willowy beauty reached the pinnacle of stardom as the sultry seductress lead in two exceptional Hollywood musicals, "Carmen Jones" (1954), for which she was the first black woman to receive an Academy Award nomination as Best Actress, and "Porgy and Bess" (1959); ironically her voice was dubbed (by Marilyn Horne and Adele Addison) in both films.


Cyril Dandridge

abandoned family

Ruby Dandridge

appeared in films "Tish" (1942), "Cabin in the Sky" (1943) and "My Wild Irish Rose" (1947) and was a regular on radio programs "The Judy Canova Show" and "Beulah"

Vivian Dandridge


Jack Denison

married in 1959 divorced 1962 met at a Las Vegas hotel where he was maitre d' Dandridge financed his restaurant and lost her savings before he left her

Phil Moore

singing coach who shaped Dandridge's voice and polished her nightclub act in the early 1950s

Harold Nicholas Actor

married on November 2, 1942 met Dandridge while performing at the Cotton Club c. 1938-39 divorced October 1951 formed dancing team The Nicholas Brothers with brother Fayard appeared together in the "Chattanooga Choo Choo" number in "Sun Valley Serenad

Harolyn Nicholas

born 1943 father Harold Nicholas born mentally retarded

Otto Preminger Director

dated after completion of "Carmen Jones" (1954)

Geneva Williams

mother's companion reportedly was abusive to Dorothy and her sister


studied voice with Lena Horne's singing coach, the composer/arranger Phil Moore who later helped shape the performing style of Diahann Carroll and Julie Wilson

dropped out of high school

enrolled in drama school after her divorce c. 1951



Attempted to resurrect career; went to health farm in Mexico with manager Earl Mills and signed new movie contract (date approximate)


Was preparing for an engagement at New York club, Basin Street East, at time of death


Announced to star as Billie Holliday in film adaptation of William Dufty's bestseller, "Lady Sings the Blues"


First starring role in "Bright Road"


Appearance at La Vie en Rose nightclub was a sellout and her fourteen week engagement helped save the club from bankruptcy and led to international stardom, performing in nightclubs in London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro and Sao P


Returned to nightclub performing; starred at the Mocambo in Hollywood with Desi Arnaz's band


Retired from performing after her marriage (dates approximate)


Peformed at the Cotton Club in Harlem where she met future husband Harold Nicholas (date approximate)


First film appearance (bit) in "A Day in the Races"


Moved to Los Angeles at age four when parents separated (date approximate)


First professional performance at age four in song-and-dance team with sister Vivian billed as "The Wonder Children"; performed before school, church and social groups

Sister Vivian decided to go solo in the mid-1940s

Left high school and formed the Dandridge Sisters trio--with sister, Vivian, and Etta Jones--which sang with the Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra during the 1940s

After "Island in the Sun" (1957), made three movies in Europe: "The Decks Ran Red" (1958), Tamango" (1959) and "Malaga" (1962)

Around time of divorce from Denison, was forced to file for bankruptcy after creditors closed in

Was the first black performer to appear at the Empire Room of the Waldorf Astoria in New York

Bonus Trivia


Posthumously inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1977.