Lena Horne, the enchanting jazz singer and actress who reviled the bigotry that allowed her to entertain white audiences but not socialize with them, slowing her rise to Broadway superstardom, has died, according to The Associated Press. She was 92.
Horne died Sunday, May 9 at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, according to hospital spokeswoman Gloria Chin. Chin would not release any other details.
In 1943, Horne played the role of Selina Rogers in the all-black movie musical Stormy Weather, according to the AP. Her rendition of the title song became a major hit and her signature piece.
Horne’s sultry voice was often overshadowed by her strong sex appeal and striking beauty.
She detested the racism that affected her career, and spoke openly about the underlying reason for her success.
“I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept,” she once told the AP. “I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked.”
In the 1940s, she was one of the first black performers hired to sing with a major white band, the first to play the Copacabana nightclub and among a handful with a Hollywood contract.
Pictured above is Lena Horne.