The Incomparable Lena Horne
By Gary Johnson
Lena Horne had beauty, talent, grace and courage. The word “iconic” seems like a slight when it comes to describe her enormous impact on the entertainment industry. Lena Horne conquered movies, television, recordings and Broadway. Lena Horne was great because of how she stood and what she stood for. She lasted so long. She was truly a treasure.
Horne, whose career spanned more than 60 years, died Sunday, May 9, 2010, of heart failure at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said her daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley. She was 92.
As a singer, I rank Lena Horne with such greats as Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McRae, Billie Holiday an Ella Fitzgerald. Horne continued to perform in her 80’s before living the quiet life with her family.
From what I could gather, Lena Horne had a fierce individualism that led to her re-defining the roles and images for blacks in films. Lena Horne was a strong woman with dignity and it came through in her films, television appearances and in her music.
Watch Lena Horne sing two of her most popular songs, “Stormy Weather,” and “If You Believe.”
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) announced its prime time lineup on Friday, May 21, will pay tribute to Lena Horne.