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Lena Horne Dead at 92


Hollywood actress, jazz singer, and civil rights activist Lena Horne is dead at 92. From the L.A. Times obit:

"While touring with the USO during World War II, she was expected to entertain the white soldiers before appearing before African American troops A day after performing for white soldiers in a large auditorium at Ft. Riley, Kan., she returned to entertain black troops in the black mess hall. But when she discovered that the whites seated in the front rows were German prisoners of war, she became furious. Marching off the platform, she turned her back on the POWs and sang to the black soldiers in the back of the hall. Horne's long-suppressed anger over the treatment of blacks in white society erupted in 1960 when she overheard a drunk white man at the Luau restaurant in Beverly Hills refer to her using a racial epithet. Jumping up, she threw an ashtray, a table lamp and several glasses at him, cutting the man's forehead. When reports of her outburst appeared in newspapers across the country, Horne was surprised at the positive response, mostly from African Americans. 'Phone calls and telegrams came in from all over,' she told the Christian Science Monitor in 1984. 'It was the first time it struck me that black people related to each other in bigger ways than I realized.' In the early '60s, Horne became more active in the civil rights movement, participating in a meeting with prominent blacks in 1963 with then-Atty. Gen. Robert F. Kennedy in the wake of violence in Birmingham, Ala., and singing at civil rights rallies."

No cause of death was given.

Horne's rendition of "Stormy Weather", AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. No cause of death was given? She was 92! Do you think she died fighting fires on an oil rig in the gulf?

    Posted by: Raven | May 10, 2010 7:54:18 AM

  2. Such a great talent that will be missed.

    Posted by: Stephen | May 10, 2010 8:05:24 AM

  3. Great talent and woman who managed to look great at every age. She will be missed.

    Posted by: kujhawker | May 10, 2010 8:16:48 AM

  4. She was a true original. A gift.

    When I was just a little kid I knew I was different from my friends, but it was the memory of Ms. Horne singing this song that gave me just that nudge of confidence. It's always been one of my favorites.

    Posted by: michael | May 10, 2010 8:50:02 AM

  5. Somehow, when I was a kid, I came across a 45 of her singing the Beatles "Rocky Racoon" and fell in love with her.

    Later, I read about how she refused to sing for Nazi POWs while Colored troops had to sit in the back of those murderers. It was one of the first times that I felt proud of someone standing up to stupidity.

    A great and strong lady with loads of class who will always be remembered.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | May 10, 2010 9:03:17 AM

  6. she was a very classy lady with alot of strong beliefs and talent the world. needs more like her their would be less intolerance in it

    Posted by: walter | May 10, 2010 10:04:19 AM

  7. There've only been two celebrity deaths in the past 10 years that have affected me this deeply: Katharine Hepburn and Heath Ledger. Horne was in a class by herself. She was arguably one of the most beautiful women in the world, and her jazz chops were impeccable. (Pick up "The Lady and Her Music" ASAP.) Her appearances in movies (underused) and on TV (much better use of her talents) were unforgettable. Her fierce activism on behalf of civil rights was unquenchable. She also gave interviews where she spoke eloquently about her love for her gay friend composer Billy Strayhorn. I never sent her flowers (damn!), but I'm so glad that she lived long enough to see Obama become president. Truly, one of the last great ladies has taken her final bow.

    Posted by: Dback | May 10, 2010 10:20:48 AM

  8. OMG. What a sad day. Beautiful woman, entertainer and outspoken civil rights activist. As Fred Sanford might say, "Long live The Horne!"

    Posted by: Q | May 10, 2010 10:43:47 AM

  9. a classy and beautuful woman with a one-of-a-kind voice. r.i.p.

    Posted by: nic | May 10, 2010 1:48:24 PM

  10. They die so young...


    Posted by: TANK | May 10, 2010 2:06:37 PM

  11. A great and beautiful "LADY". When I saw her for the first time, I asked my mother if she was a 'princess'.

    May she rest in peace and may her loved ones find comfort in their grief.

    Posted by: aleabeth | May 10, 2010 5:13:03 PM

  12. A long time love... RIP.

    Posted by: Giovanni | May 10, 2010 6:28:16 PM

  13. @ Michael. Thanks for sharing that youtube video. I am close to tears at the thought of that brilliant, talented woman singing about COLOR to a green frog. Somehow, of course, she understood completely..... Kudos to the Muppet folks, as well, for 'getting it'.

    Posted by: Chris | May 10, 2010 6:59:06 PM

  14. Lena Horne was a lovely lady and always a class act.

    Posted by: Lamar Cole | May 12, 2010 7:53:48 PM

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