Lena Horne Dies

Jazz legend Lena Horne, who broke racial barriers on Broadway and in Hollywood, died Saturday at the age of 92. Horne’s sultry voice and good looks shot her to success; she was one of the first black singers in an all-white band in the '40s. She starred in all-black movies, and her performance in the musical Stormy Weather became a hit on the radio and her signature song. The singer also starred in the movies Panama Hattie, I Dood It, Swing Fever, Broadway Rhythm, and Ziegfeld Follies, as well as Broadway plays, including the one-woman show Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. Born the great-granddaughter of a freed slave, Horne was frustrated by the persistence of racism, crediting her beauty for making her inoffensive to white audiences: "I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept.” Horne’s grandmother was a civil-rights activist, but the singer didn’t get involved in politics until she performed at an Army base in 1945 and saw German POWs sitting up front, while black American soldiers had to sit in the back.