Lena Horne’s voice started toes tapping for generations, even as her career was undermined by Hollywood blacklisting during the “Red Scare” of the 1950s. We remember Horne’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
Lena Horne‘s voice started toes tapping for generations, even as her career was undermined by Hollywood blacklisting during the “Red Scare” of the 1950s. After leaving Hollywood behind, Horne was a prolific nightclub performer and Grammy Award-winning recording artist. In 1963, she was part of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic March on Washington and was a vocal champion of the civil rights movement. Later in life, Horne appeared in a one-woman Broadway show and continued to perform throughout the 1980s and 1990s, disappearing from the spotlight in 2000 after a 67-year career. We remember Horne’s life today as well as the lives of other notable people who were born this day in history.
1943: Florence Ballard, U.S. singer who was a founding member of the Supremes, is born in Detroit, Michigan.
“Where Did Our Love Go” began a remarkable run, with their next four singles all reaching No. 1. Within a year, the Supremes were international stars and were arguably the second most popular act in the world behind the Beatles. They were one of the first African-American acts to achieve crossover success with white audiences, recording movie soundtracks, appearing in films, performing on The Ed Sullivan Show no fewer than 17 times, and even marketing their own brand of bread. Read more
1936: Dave Van Ronk, U.S. singer-songwriter whose arrangement of “House of the Rising Sun” was made famous by the Animals, is born in Brooklyn, New York.
1931: Andrew Hill, U.S. jazz pianist and composer who worked with Eric Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard, and others, is born in Chicago, Illinois.
1927: James Goldman, U.S. screenwriter and playwright who wrote “The Lion in Winter,” is born in Chicago, Illinois.
1919: Ed Yost, U.S. inventor who created the first modern hot air balloon, is born in Bristow, Iowa.
1917: Lena Horne, U.S. actress, singer, and civil rights activist whose notable movies include “Cabin in the Sky” and “Stormy Weather,” is born in Brooklyn, New York.
Horne campaigned with first lady Eleanor Roosevelt for anti-lynching legislation. (It was unsuccessful.) She also worked with Japanese-Americans who faced discrimination, according to Horne’s entry on the National Park Service website. She later said her outspokenness and relationships with liberal thinkers like Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois led to her being blacklisted for seven years beginning in 1950. Read more
1917: Susan Hayward, U.S. actress and singer who won an Academy Award for her performance in “I Want To Live!”, is born in Brooklyn, New York.
1899: Madge Bellamy, U.S. actress who was a star of silent films and early talkies, is born in Hillsboro, Texas.