Dorothy was an actress, a dancer, and an accomplished singer (though ironically, her most famous musical role, in the film “Carmen Jones”, her voice was dubbed by opera star Marilyn Horne.)
Dorothy was practically born to the stage: her mother was actress Ruby Dandridge. Dorothy began her professional performing career at just four years of age, teaming up with her sister Vivian in a song-and-dance act as “The Wonder Children.”
She never stopped. A fixture as a nightclub performer, she also became a featured performer on the radio and TV series “Beulah”. But today we mostly remember her for her films. Even in her early projects, she projected a regal beauty. But it wasn’t until the late 1950s that she emerged as one of the first African-American performers to become a true movie star, in lead roles in two film classics, “Carmen Jones” and Porgy and Bess.
Her sense of style is still felt today: the main character in director Spike Lee’s “Girl 6” imagines herself as Dorothy Dandridge.