To prepare for her role as Bess in the film Porgy and Bess, Dorothy Dandridge began an exercise routine with Swiss physical culturists, Walter Saxer. At 6am in the exercise studio inside of Dottie’s home, Mr. Saxer put her through vigorous aerobic motions and routines, using hoops, sticks, and rowing motions to help her develop swanlike body movements. Dorothy Dandridge’s character of Bess would not move like a streetwalker.
Frances Goldwyn, wife of producer Samuel Goldwyn, was impressed by Dottie’s attention to keeping physically fit as well as her physical poise. "A beautiful Negro woman carries herself better than the Caucasian does, and this we can afford to learn. I had never known a girl who took care of herself the way Miss Dandridge does.”
Q:I know you've probably been asked this question before... Was Dorothy biracial? Everywhere I look, there are various articles, etc. saying she was. The common term Dorothy she is stamped with (I have seen recently) is 'Tragic Mulatto'.
Dorothy’s parents were of mixed heritage. Her maternal grandfather was black (Jamaican) and her maternal grandmother was Mexican. Dottie’s paternal grandfather was black (African descent), while her paternal grandmother was biracial. Many people falsely claim that her father was white, he clearly was not. Tragic mulatto was a term that she loathed.
Thank you, dacbongiorno!
Dorothy Dandridge and Sidney Poitier in the 1959 musical film, Porgy and Bess.
I’ve always loved this photo of Dorothy Dandridge relaxing with extras on the set of “Carmen Jones”. What do you think they were talking about? Photo: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library
Please help Amina Owens start her very own t-shirt line and honor the eminent Dorothy Dandridge at the same time! Amina’s goal is to have a line dedicated to a diverse range of timeless beauties. She felt that there was no better way to begin this line than with Dorothy Dandridge, a woman who represents sophistication, diversity, and timeless beauty. Help turn Amina’s dreams into reality by purchasing a shirt here.
Dorothy Dandridge, February 1955 issue of Brown magazine
On August 15, 1964, the Toronto Star published this photo of Dorothy Dandridge by photographer Norman James with the caption “Never quite reached the top.” I’m pretty offended by that caption, so I can only imagine how Dottie felt about it. Although she had ups and downs throughout her lifetime, more so in her latter years, Dorothy Dandridge had many triumphs in her lifetime. Should she have been the biggest star in the world? Most definitely, but her accomplishments should never be downplayed.
The Dandridge Sisters: Etta Jones, Dorothy Dandridge, and Vivian Dandridge on stage with soul singer Jimmy Lunceford (circa 1940).“On stage, the Dandridge Sisters represented one glamorous girl in three. Etta was the lively one with the highest voice, who seemed as if she were ready in a split second to out dance and outmaneuver the others. Vivian was the dishy one with the lowest voice; the most aggressively sexy of the three and also the funniest, with a cute naughty girl twinkle in her eye and her smile. Dorothy, singing lead, was the soft, young one, warm, sensitive, sincere, not as knowing as the others. For women watching them, they were fetching symbols of progressive young Black womanhood.”