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Lena Horne

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne (singer, born June 30, 1917, Brooklyn, New York; died May 9, 2010) Lena Mary Calhoun Horne received a special Tony Award for distinguished achievement in the theater for her one-woman Broadway hit Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music which opened to rave reviews in 1981 and played to capacity audiences there for 14 months before going on tour. She reached that pinnacle of her 50-year-career via a road that started in the Harlem of the 1930s and was bombarded with stormy weather. In the early days, she was referred to as a "cafe au lait Hedy Lamarr" and a "chocolate chanteuse." Even after she achieved stardom as a singer, she was refused a room at the hotels where she was performing--even in New York City as late as 1942--because she was black. In the Hollywood of the 1940s, she says she was invited to parties only with the unwritten understanding that she provide the entertainment.