It’s amazing how someone I’ve never met, someone who passed away decades before I was even born, has had such a major impact on my life. I’m forever grateful that my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles helped cultivate my love for you, Ms. Dorothy Dandridge. I often think about how Diahann Carroll was so right when she said that you should have been the biggest star in the world, but you weren’t because of the color of your skin. Hollywood wasn’t very accepting of a beautiful black woman as a major star. It’s so unfortunate that during your lifetime, no one truly fought for you to have a place in Hollywood. Despite the setbacks you faced, you always carried yourself with the utmost dignity.
Angel Face, I’m here to fight to make sure that your life and legacy is never forgotten. You live on through me, and through all who truly recognize and appreciate all that you did.
Happy Birthday, my beautiful idol.
"Dorothy Dandridge is an indelible figure of Hollywood lore, a beautiful screen siren whose talent and intelligence shown brightly on the silver screen. And yet one is left to wonder what Dandridge could have been had she not be hamstrung by the blatant racism and sexism of her day. A trailblazer for such contemporary actresses as Halle Berry and Angela Bassett, Dandridge continues to be an important and unforgettable screen presence to fans worldwide." - writer Cynthia C. Scott
Candid photo of Dorothy Dandridge serving up drinks courtesy of the Philadelphia Tribune archives. Copies of this photo can be purchased here for $10 + 3.50 shipping. Of course I just had to order myself one. A few additional photos are also available.
"With Best Wishes - Dorothy Dandridge"
"While Dorothy Dandridge was equal if not superior to many of her white female movie star counterparts, her career in Hollywood was spotty due largely to the fact that roles for Black actors were few and far between. A victim of the racism and sexism of her time, Dorothy Dandridge was never able to achieve her potential as a box office screen siren.” - writer Cynthia C. Scott
20th Century Fox press photo.
In 1940, Dorothy Dandridge auditioned for a role in the stage play “Meet the People.” The role was intended for a white actress, but Dottie knew she could play the role. Of course she was right and won the role. The stage play was such a big hit that Hollywood wanted to do a film version of it. Dottie knew that she would be perfect for the film version, and she tried so very hard to secure the role. However, she soon learned that the MGM film would have an all white cast, thus excluding her. A studio executive even told Dottie that the South wasn’t ready for “colored” actors. The studio was afraid that movie theaters would ban the film if any black actors/actresses were featured.
"You have to ask yourself, why isn’t Dorothy Dandridge the household word that Marilyn Monroe is? I’m not saying they’re the same. I think Dorothy Dandridge has, in so many ways, more social significance though she may not be as known culturally. There’s a simple reason: Because she was black and because her roles were limited.” ~ Martha Coolidge, director of Introducing Dorothy Dandridge