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Sad Farewell to Lena Horne

Lena Horne took the world of entertainment by storm and left a legacy that will always be remembered. Known as a dedicated Civil Rights activist, singer and actress, Lena Horne made her mark by fighting for her individuality and showcasing her extraordinary talent. Sadly, this magnificent icon passed away on 9 May 2010, in New York, at the age of 92. Now, looking back at a career that lasted approximately sixty years, the world pays tribute to Lena Horne and her numerous achievements.

Lena Horne was born in New York in the suburb of Brooklyn, on 30 June 1917, with her full name being Lena Mary Calhoun Horne. In the year 1933, at the tender age of 16, Lena Horne made her break into the music industry, making the cut for the singing chorus in the well known Cotton Club. She began touring with Noble Sissle’s Orchestra and toured with Charlie Barnett from 1940 to 1941. The movie Panama Hattie, which was released in 1942, saw Lena Horne make her debut with MGM, and she also became the first African-American to receive a Hollywood contract. Stormy Weather is known as one of the classics, and Horne was asked to sing the title song for this breathtaking 1943 movie.

She went on to appear in countless television shows, such as The Cosby Show, The Dean Martin Show and the Judy Garland show, to name a few. She also had the opportunity to meet John F. Kennedy in person a few days before he was assassinated. Throughout her time in the entertainment industry, she released a number of albums that were well received by the public, and was a notable Jazz performer. She also did not shy away from Broadway, with Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music being an extremely successful show and leading to her receiving a Tony Award for her performance. Other awards bestowed on Lena Horne include Best Cast Show Album (1981), a Lifetime Achievement Award (1989) and Best Jazz Vocal Performance (1995). Lena Horne leaves behind a daughter, five grandchildren and a career that paved the way for many African-Americans who followed in her footsteps.

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