Jazz Singer and Actress Lena Horne: 1917-2010

Lena Horne
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Singer, actress and civil-rights activist Lena Horne passed away last night (May 9) at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the Associated Press reports. She was 92 years old.

Horne made history when she became the first African-American actress to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio. She was present at Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington and spoke at a civil rights rally later in 1963.

As a jazz singer, Horne was best known for the 1943 song “Stormy Weather,” which came from the musical film of the same name. She won a Tony award in 1981 for her one-woman show Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music.

Horne remained busy even into her eighties, releasing her last three albums, We’ll Be Together Again, An Evening with Lena Horne and Being Myself between 1994 and1998 on Blue Note Records. She also performed on friend Simon Rattle’s 2000 album Classic Ellington, and in 2006, Horne’s Blue Note recordings were collected and released on the album Seasons of a Life.