Dorothy Dandridge photographed at Lindsay’s Sky Bar in Cleveland, Ohio by Frank Kuchirchuk. The photo is now part of the Frank Kuchirchuk Collection of Jazz Photography at Oberlin Conservatory of Music on the campus of Oberlin College in Cleveland. Mr. Kuchirchuk said that this is his favorite photograph.
For some Dorothy Dandridge represented an unfulfilled promise. For others she was a sign of power of drive and ambition to break down barriers. For others she was a doomed beauty, struggling heroically against personal demons and the fundamental racism if the industry.
“Her own personal demons came out of everything the industry was at that time. I mean there’s no putting those things aside. Her personal life and her personal demons in terms of the negative things that occurred in her personal life are not really that desperate from who she was.” - actor Brock Peters
Mainstream media and Hollywood would forget Dorothy Dandridge within a relatively short period of time, wiping her from its historical record. Later, part of her compelling legend was the very fact that she had been forgotten—-except by black America, which would pass her story on, one generation after another. For Blacks in Hollywood, especially actresses at the close of one century and the opening if another—-Janet Jackson, Angela Bassett, Lela Rochon, Vanessa Williams, Whitney Houston, Jasmine Guy, and Halle Berry—-Dorothy Dandridge’s story would resonate. As the great tragic African American actress of twentieth-century cinema, she became a potent mythic goddess, every bit as haunting and significant a symbol as Marilyn Monroe would be for the mainstream community.
Fresh Faced Dottie
Porgy and Bess
“What was I? That outdated “tragic mulatto” of earlier fiction? Oddly enough, there remains some validity in this concept, in a society not yet integrated. I wasn’t fully accepted in either world, black or white. I was too light to satisfy Negroes, not light enough to secure the screen work, the roles, the marriage status available to a white woman. I had been catapulted from a primarily Negro environment high up into white-peopled studios and salons. Subtly, while experiencing what seemed to be a full acceptance, I encountered not-yetness. Whites weren’t quite ready for full acceptance even of me, purportedly beautiful, passable, acceptable, talented, called by critics every superlative in the lexicon employed for a talented and beautiful woman. Yet the barrier was there.” - Dorothy Dandridge, Everything and Nothing
It’s Dorothy Dandridge question time!!! On instagram this morning, I was asked if I thought Otto Preminger sabotaged Dorothy Dandridge’s career. Other instagram followers gave their input, and now I wanna know what tumblr thinks! Did Otto sabotage Dottie’s career?
“It showed that beneath any color skin, people are simply people. I wanted any white girl in the audience to look at me performing in this film and be able to say to herself, ‘Why, this school teacher could be me.’” - Dorothy Dandridge on her role as Jane Richards in Bright Road (See How They Run)