"Lynn was injured at birth, and the speech centers of her brain were damaged. Otherwise she’s normal, and a very beautiful child. We never stop hoping, but the doctors know and they say the damage to her brain is beyond repair. How terrible is it never to be able to really speak to your own child." - Dorothy Dandridge speaking to the New York Daily Mirror****It is my belief that Harolyn was simply autistic. All of her symptoms mimic that of autism. In my opinion, doctors were uneducated on it at the time.****
Dorothy Dandridge was Black Hollywood’s greatest symbol. No Black woman in the history of films, not even Hattie McDaniel or Lena Horne, had garnered such attention. She proved that dignity, style, and class could be brought to mainstream movies by a Black performer in a serious role. Within Black America, there was a tremendous excitement and optimism about Dorothy. As actress Nichelle Nichols once said, she was quite simply OUR queen.
Vera Jackson, one of the first professional Black female photographers, captured Dorothy Dandridge and Harold Nicholas enjoying a horseback ride.
Dorothy Dandridge, the international singing beauty.
People tend to say the same two things about Dorothy Dandridge (“She was so beautiful!” “Her life was so tragic!”) Well, she was definitely beautiful (by most counts on the inside and out) and she did endure tough challenges in her life, but she was also a relentless hard worker. When she was not rehearsing for one of her nightclub performances, she was studying acting and dance and constantly working to create more opportunities for herself in Hollywood. At one point in the 1950s, she teamed up with Nat “King” Cole to pitch a television series where they would play a married couple (“small time” entertainers trying to catch a break in show business). It is our loss that they were turned down all over town (can you imagine watching clips of that today?!) In this photo, Ms. Dandridge is rehearsing with the great composer, arranger and vocal coach Phil Moore in March 1951. Mr. Moore also coached, arranged and/or wrote songs for Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Judy Garland, Pearl Bailey, Ava Gardner, Diahann Carroll, Johnny Mathis and The Supremes.
“[Prejudice] is such a waste. It makes you logy and half-alive. It gives you nothing. It takes away. And it is superficial, like so many of our reactions today.” ~ Dorothy Dandridge
Dorothy Dandridge and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Dorothy Dandridge chatting with Anthony Quinn on the set of his film, Ride,Vaquero!
(l-r) Dorothy Dandridge, Harolyn Nicholas, Geri Branton, Tony Nicholas.“I never really thought I could give my daughter up to an institution. I guess the longest period of time that I have ever been away from her was about six months. Actually, she had no conception of time. She doesn’t know how long I’ve been away. She doesn’t even know that I’m her mother. She only knows that she likes me and I like her, and she feels warmth and that I’m a nice person.” -Dorothy Dandridge appearing on July 1963 edition of The Mike Douglas Show and publicly talked about Harolyn for the first time