Lena Horne – the silky-voiced singing legend who shattered Hollywood stereotypes of African Americans on screen in the 1940s as a symbol of glamour.
Her legacy is being revived by Showtime in a limited series that is already under production.
The Black Beauty
With her copper-toned skin, strong cheekbones and dazzling smile, she was a breakthrough on the silver screen — “Hollywood’s first black beauty,” as Vogue magazine described her later in her career.
When Horne first began dancing in the chorus at the Cotton Club — three shows a night, seven nights a week for $25 a week — she did so to help out her financially troubled family during the Depression.
From there to the World War II and her rise to stardom, the civil rights activism and her triumphant return to Broadway – the said series will touch many important aspects of the celebrated entertainer.
Whose behind it?
The series will be produced by CBS Television Studios and Secret Hideout and Heather Kadin, who worked with Kurtzman on Star Trek: Discovery, will also exec produce alongside Lumet.
“Bringing my grandmother’s story to the screen required a multi-generational effort,” said Lumet, whose father was director Sidney Lumet.
“Grandma passed her stories to my mother, who now passes them to me, so I may pass them to the children of our family.
Lena’s story is so intimate and at the same time, it’s the story of America – America at its most honest, most musical, most tragic and most joyous.
It’s crucial now. Especially now. She was the love of my life.”
A six-decade career
Beginning as a 16-year-old chorus girl at the fabled Cotton Club in Harlem in 1933, Horne launched more than a six-decade career that spanned films, radio, television, recording, nightclubs, concert halls and Broadway.
The series will also explore her relationships with Paul Robeson, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Joe Louis, Billie Holiday, Hattie McDaniel, Ava Gardner and Orson Welles and look at how she navigated stardom during Jim Crow as a direct descendant of slaves and their enslavers.